A man is lying on his back on a surfboard far out on a dead calm sea. He is a bug on a glass mirror. He is tired, and looking vacantly at the sky. His arms are by his side and he grasps the edges of the board on either side near his waist, and his balance is precarious enough that the merest wave will begin to tip him.
He is thinking. There is an ocean above him and an ocean below. He arrived here as through a carnival Marble Drop game; every time he hit a pin in life he could have gone left or right on the way down.
He hears again the marble hitting the pins and closes his eyes to mute it but the sound only gets louder. He wants it to stop and slides his hips slowly to one side. The board tilts along its long axis. He turns his head, opens his eyes, looks at the water and sees himself looking back. He has seen enough. He tilts further, and slides into the water.
The cool water shocks him into tension and it is with effort that he exhales fully, makes himself limp and descends. He sinks. He rolls slowly as he falls and gets a last look up at the diamonds on the surface of the water in the sun. He turns again to the dark and the deep.
He inhales, and there is a great stab to his lungs and a peculiar desperation makes him bicycle and flail his arms for a moment. He screams one loud long burning scream and then it is over. He sinks further and the quiet embraces him, the dark embraces him, and the cold begins to take away the pain.
Now he feels the pressure of the water and it pushes upon him a feeling of safety like an infant swaddled in a blanket. He feels sleepy, heavy and warm in the arms of the dark; a calm overtakes him as he spirals slowly down and down and down.
In the black calm, his vision becomes spotty and he begins to hallucinate. He sees that he is skydiving at night and instinctively assumes a freefall arched position. As he reaches terminal velocity, he experiments with languidly dropping an elbow, bending his knees or straightening his legs. He is delighted at the turns, spins and movement he can control and learns that by bending his knees up he can even go backwards.
He continues to spin, tumble and play as he falls through the thick black night, utterly content. However, after a short while he notices far beneath him a lightening in the water. He has come to love the dark and is curious how this could be and stabilizes his position to watch the light grow more and more as he falls. The vague sense of light develops into a whole sky of light at the other end of the black. Finally, to his surprise, he punches through the bottom and drops into the surface of the ocean, furious and foamy, with the light of the sky above him once again.
He instinctively gasps and pulls in oxygen as fast as he can while he struggles to tread water in the white foam and he is lashed by the power, howling, and weight of the wind and the waves and the light of the sun; all his senses are attacked and in the confusion he is drowning. But the air has given him strength and he composes himself, slows his movements, and begins to float with less effort. The storm abates, and he waits.
After a while, a large boat picks him up, and he is on deck, being given water, food, and a blanket by the crew. He suddenly sees his surfboard on the deck and gives a cry of recognition.
The crew notices and one says “We found it a ways back in the water. Is it yours?”
“Do you want it back?”