‘Submerged’

From the bottom of the pool, the world was turquoise. The water, the sky, the overhanging boughs, the glass tiles doubly blue; even his white skin was cast with the same cold light. He let bubbles escape slowly from his nose. They tickled his face.

How much simpler it was here, where there were no colours; no noises to distract him. If he stayed here long enough, would he start seeing reds, greens and yellows where there were none? And what would happen when he emerged, and saw the realness of colours again?

Duncan’s wife looked up from her book. How long could he stay down there? He was always so restless on days like this. What was wrong with just sitting in the sun, sipping an icy drink, chatting as the sun went down? Come to think of it, Rhiannon would have loved it here. The day would have flown by. Bloody men.

Perhaps, he wondered to himself, he might never come up. Perhaps he would emerge, and discover that his wife had finally had enough, and driven off with their duty free brandy in the poky little hire car. He would try and give her a minute more. She had a lot of hats to pack.

So it was decided. Either he would drown, or she would leave. Or, most likely, neither, and they would end up stuck exactly where they were before.

On the breeze, the aroma of basmati rice drifted down from the restaurant. It was almost six. She could probably squeeze in another drink before dinner. She downed the icy dregs of a mauve liquid, reapplied her crimson lipstick, placed her bookmark carefully and stood up, wrapping herself in a flowing green kaftan.

Duncan surfaced with a gasp. He threw back his head, showering her with spray.

“Having fun darling?” She stared down on him with one eyebrow raised.

Duncan spluttered water from his nose and rubbed his face.

“Duncan, really. You absolute child. I’m going to the bar.” Her kaftan blew dramatically as she turned, like a cape made of crocodile skin.

So it was going to be one of those nights, he thought to himself. At least by ten, she would be silent, and he could return to the water, where there would be no colour but black.