I look around me and I am caught in an ocean of sympathy.
Yet, I do not soak any of it in.
I am lost at sea, forgotten as the currents pull me under.
The breath escapes from my lungs in a stream of bubbles that float to the surface, something tangible for those I’ve left behind.
Salt invades my nostrils; pressure weighs me down; the waves match my wide-open eyes.
Even as I descend, slowly, I take it all in.
A smile here, a pair of arms there.
The maze of weeds grows around me like a vise as I reach greater depths.
My mind becomes muddled from lack of oxygen, and I forget to hold my breath, to hold on to time.
I drift. I let go.
I allow my mind to disintegrate into unfathomable pieces.
Once or twice I think I see a hand stretching out to me, offering to help; I’ve lost the capacity to respond.
Without any thanks from me, they leave in a haste, their fingers stirring the surrounding water.
It takes a while for things to settle down.
I finally close my eyes, resigned to my fate.
I will never escape. (I will always be bait.)