Staring, feeling the waves gently slap against my sides. The open ocean was frightening. It was this fear that kept my body tingling with adrenaline and delight.

I was safe. I had done this many times. It was certainly dangerous, to snorkel the open ocean, alone, but I got so much out of it.

In the office I would drift away to the sway of the ocean in my memory. Everything at work was so mundane, and yet catastrophic. Forms needed to be filled out, and always soon.

Time was a constant constraint even away from work. Any small chore seemed to take away from the precious time I had for myself. It was upsetting, and the thought process was difficult to curb. I was upset most of the time, thinking about time.

The abyss. The seclusion. The sensory deprivation.

The ocean. The vastness. The way the light only went down so far, yet it was deep enough to stack my office building five times over. All the life, out of my reach, between the surface and ocean floor.

Sometimes wandering sea-life would enter my vision. A jellyfish or a lost remora. I regarded them as a deviation from my adrenaline based meditation.

I had no medical knowledge. I also would let myself drift away from the boat. It’s what helped the sensation.

When I start, it’s like everything in my body is telling me to get out of the water. But I’m used to this. I stay at work all day despite my body telling me to jump out.

The feeling subsides, but never goes away. It’s like constantly being…about to fist fight someone.

And that’s what I do on my Saturdays. I’ll call out on weekdays sometimes, but only if things get really bad.

I start early, getting to the boat at 6am, and get to a nice open spot around 7am. Once I’m in the water, I just let time fade away as I look into the vast, dark space.

People know I have the boat, but not what I do with it. I’ve had a couple conversations with coworkers that I’ll describe as disingenuous. They want to go out on the boat. I always tell them no, but I never mention how defensive I get. Maybe they can tell, but I don’t care.

This is all I look forward to.

So here I am, in the pleasure-fear coma that I long for so much. Open air on my back, with the void at my front.

As I started to fade away, there was a movement at the edge of the visible section.

I had seen a whale once. At least, I thought it had been a whale. It was big and soft, moving with a slow, plodding indifference to the space around it.

This movement was like that. I imagined the whale seeing me. A small speck on the surface. The only thing on the horizon.

Adrenaline spiked. Where was the boat? Had I drifted too far away? I fought the urge to look. The fear rattled in my chest, and I relished it.

The movement down below changed suddenly. It unfurled, and for the first time I felt a fear unlike any other. My teeth wrenched against each other. But I realized I couldn’t move.

I was frozen with fear.

The movement neared the sunbeams. Just a few more feet and I would be able to make out whatever it was.

A single, brown, tentacle so large it seemed out of a dream. It moved from below, to the surface without exposing the body it came from. Casually, inquisitively, it poked at my torso.

If I had not soiled myself before. I did then.

It was rubbery, with suction cups of all sizes all over one of the sides.

After a single prod, it hesitated, floating back towards the abyss.

I sighed internally, still unable to move.

Then, as if it were having an internal debate that collapsed, the single tentacle wrapped itself around my torso.

It pulled me to the dark, my eardrums exploded, my eyes bulged. It was unpleasant.