A recurring memory has taken up residence in my head. When I was twelve, at the height of summer, my family and I took a vacation to Majorca. As a child I was a loner and I felt as though I were being slowly suffocated in the hotel room I was sharing with my brother and my cousins. So, one afternoon I took myself, a book and an inflatable floating mat down to the beach. I climbed onto the mat and lay back. I accompanied the tide on its way out. And then I fell asleep.
I have no idea how long I was out. I awoke with a heavy head. I looked around me. i was surrounded by the sea. The beach had disappeared. I was alone. I sat up. My book had fallen into the water. At first I panicked. I was a poor swimmer. The tide was going out. I was sure I would drown. I think I may even have prayed.
By some miracle I managed to doggy-paddle myself back to the shore. I collapsed, exhausted onto the beach.
I returned to the hotel and never uttered a word of what had happened to anyone. I told my family that I had fallen asleep on the beach while sunbathing. And that raised hysteria, so heaven knows what their reaction would have been if I’d told them what really happened.
I was so badly sunburnt that for the next three nights I had to sleep on my stomach.
What is the point, you may ask, of this random anecdote. I recount it now because I feel now like I did that day. Floating in an expanse of ocean while the tide carries me further from the shore, praying for some small miracle that will save me from drowning and get me back to the place I started from.