He could not so much see the fish as he knew they were there, surrounding him by the millions. He could not touch them, yet he knew they were as real as the sun behind them. As he fell deeper, the fish began to disappear and he saw stranger and more unsettling things that he could recall no more once they faded from his sight.
He knew he was an intruder in a place he did not belong. So long as no one found out and he was careful, he knew he would make it back to the other side, but for now he was gone. Missing in action and high in love with the nuances of every strange new sensation that gripped him.
Sticking to the dive plan was impossible. He couldn’t remember it anyway. Who knows where a moment will take one in a time of free-fall, when the body and mind wonder at a separate pace, abstractions real and reality a distraction. The only thing that mattered was resurfacing correctly when the time came. Come up slow, he remembered the dive master saying.
His mind raced sluggishly along the bottom. He watched as the blurry tornado of tropical fish was replaced by one of raw motion swimming to and fro in distinct packets for which he could find no name.
When he looked up through the clear water he saw every star ever recorded shimmering above the watery ceiling, and he alone beneath them. He released more air, negating his bouancy, and dropped again ever farther into the unfathomable deep, searching for the bottom.
It amazed him how much there was to see, how much he had not known.