The Moment It All Happened

I was sick of it. Another day in suck city, daytrading. It wasn’t so long ago. But now it was forever ago. I always was fooled into thinking I was smart enough to daytrade.

But I hated it. And that day I had lost a lot of money.

Where had it gone? Why was I doing the only job in the world where you can lose money instead of get money?

My wife said to me, “what’s wrong?” But I couldn’t look up. I felt it in my stomach, in my chest, in my head, I couldn’t move.

The sunlight was scattering through the branches outside, falling like stains on the table while she sat there and I didn’t know what to say.

“Let’s go,” I said.

“Where?” We had just moved into town. 65 miles away from the city so I could be closer to my kids.

“Follow me,” I said.

And we left the house and walked about a mile and came to a small island. We walked over the bridge.

“Where are we going?” she said and I walked us through the paths until we came to the other side of the island, the part facing the Hudson River.

There was a small beach there. I had been there before but Claudia hadn’t. She thought I was crazy.

For some reason everyone on the beach was Hispanic. There in the middle of the day. Why?

Everyone was speaking Spanish. I didn’t understand anything.

“What are you doing?” My wife said and I walked into the water and started swimming.

There was a boat anchored about 50 feet away. I could swim to it but I didn’t. Instead I swum out far enough where I could sink and put my head under the water.

She came in the water also, but just to the point where she could wade and feel the coolness on the lower part of her body and the heat on her face. The day was split in half like that. Just like the sun was about to set.

I went under, with my clothes mostly on and I floated for a bit. I couldn’t take it anymore.

I had just moved. I had just gotten married. I was still losing money. I didn’t know what I was doing anymore.

And I was just bleeding money and my wife would realize what a fake I was and I would lose her also and then my kids would starve. Everyone would starve.

“Honey?” my wife said. And I came out of the water.

I pulled her in and she laughed and we floated for awhile and held each other. Other people from the beach, on a 5pm, came in and out of the water.

The people on the boat watched all of us. Where was the boat going? Why were they out here on a Wednesday at 5pm?

Were they rich, without a care in the world, and maybe they were just going up and down the Hudson River, never worried about anything in their lives.

Were there people like that – people with no worries? What separated them from me?

We were laughing. I hadn’t been swimming in years. I had never gone into the water from a beach.

I always thought it was disgusting. What would I step on? Jellyfish were the first beings to crawl from the sea to the land, eventually evolving into sexual creatures, eventually evolving into mammals, into men and women.

Would I step on a jellyfish. Would it stick to me? Or seaweed? Or mud, pulling me back in, back to where the jellyfish first came from?

When I was above the water I thought that love was everything. When I was floating under the water I closed my eyes and felt like wisdom was that feeling of “nothing” you only get when you float. Everything and the nothing.

We walked home. Wet. The sun hot but cooling as the shadow of the mountain began to scrub out the sun for the day.

I then wrote a blog post. About going broke. About being afraid of leaving my kids. About a crushing disappointment.

About something I did that was very wrong. I had been writing for years but I was telling the truth – what a miserable failure I could be. And I was sick of pretending not to be.

Someone tweeted – “too much information”. So over the years I gave more information. And then how I started to bounce back. Again and again and again every time I bounced back using one technique.

And now I needed to do it again. And this time I would make it stick. Please, I said to myself, make it stick!

Or maybe that wasn’t the time I went swimming. Maybe it was the time I couldn’t sleep and I wrote up all my numbers and subtracted and added and divided until all that was left was an equation of my panic at three in the morning.

And I kept writing numbers until I fell asleep at the table. And then the next day, sickened by myself, I wrote.

I don’t know which day it was. But I gave up. I didn’t want to care anymore. I didn’t want to wonder what people thought. I didn’t want to care what happened to me.

Since then my life has totally changed. I feel like I’m in a different universe now. I feel like I’m in a different body. That I have a different brain. I’m almost ashamed to say I’m happy. Or calm. One of them.

I never know what will happen now. I never try to know. Today opens up like a mystery book. I give up. I surrender.

It hurts to feel that panic. To feel that loneliness. To feel scared that everyone is going to realize what a fraud you are. I was scared.

But I wrote. I went underwater and never came back. And this time it stuck.

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