Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998
Spoilers: Absolutely None!
Summary: Mulder reflects on his childhood.
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Thanks to the Emu, for editing and thought provoking commentary.
I almost drowned as a child.
This thought seems relevant to nothing, as I sit relaxing in the jacuzzi tub, letting the bubbling waters soothe my aching muscles. Damn, I can't wait to see the look on the faces of the Bureau accountants when they realize how much this conference costs.
But my perusal of fleeting childhood images becomes utterly necessary as I try to answer the question thrown out carelessly to me earlier by my partner.
"Mulder, what's so great about swimming?"
Ever the altruist, she appeared at my doorway earlier to offer herself as a running partner. Our last case was a killer, and she knew of my inherent need to unwind through exercise. But there was no way that I would give up the luxury of swimming in a pool larger than the average bathtub, even to make my partner happy.
But her question keeps ringing through my brain. So to answer it, my mind hurtles back into the dark mists of memory. To times that are better left forgotten. Before my sister disappeared. When I recall that the idyllic picture of our life before the tragedy is just as false as our happy content lives afterward.
I remember the salt air and the warmth of the sun as an almost visceral sensation. My skin tingles as I think back to the hours on the beach at the Vineyard. My mother, covered by a huge floppy straw hat, holding tightly to her baby girl. My father, absent.
Off somewhere talking with the other fathers, away from the loud cries of children and the soft murmurings of mothers. And my excitement at watching the waves crash into the shore.
The creation of the white foam at the breaking of the wave a perfect outlet for the curiosity of a preschooler. The desire to explore, to get closer to those amazing walls of water, and to shriek in delight at their noisy destruction on the beach.
And then to feel the terrible pull of the current. The unknowing step which takes you from observer to participant in the rolling dance. I can still remember the tugging at my feet, until I fell down deeper into a state of perfect tranquility.
If it had been up to my parents, I would not have survived that day at the beach. Instead, an observant lifeguard snatched me out of the watery abyss into which I had fallen. But the thing that stands out clearest in my memory are those moments underneath the tempest.
An experience like this should have driven me away from the water permanently. Phobias are developed from lesser incidents than this. But instead I found myself drawn to the water, despite the worries of my parents or the teasing of my friends. Somehow in those moments, knowledge was imparted to me. And I swam and swam until I found it.
There comes a point when one swims for long distances at which it is just as easy to continue as to quit. And at that point, nothing is more important than continuing. Forcing myself to breath, to kick and stroke becomes the focus of my existence. And at those moments I am at peace.
Because under the water, the world is silent. And the silence fills me until I am no longer capable of remembering anything but the most basic of movements to keep me alive.
I swim to forget.
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Oh, and Nager is French meaning to swim.
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The random quote of the week:
Michelle: Did they just call that guy a LOSER?
Val: No, they called him a LUGER!