Told to Jump
Under his gaze, she would not hesitate
"I can relate to the steam.
Not really one thing or another.
Slowly dissipating unto nothing at all."
"How so?" He asked Isabelle as they marched through the rain towards the pier.
"I don't know" she stepped through a muddy patch of grass.
"I'm sorry! I forgot I was the only one with boots."
"No, that's fine; these shoes are actually waterproof," Eric said, embarrassed for having followed her.
Eric was a shorter man, but what height he lacked was made up for in strength and a beautiful physique-- earned over a lifetime of surfing and hard work. He walked with confidence in his stride and held dark, hungry eyes.
Eric was a little older than Isabelle. It was evident in his interactions with her that he was curious. He was fascinated by her ability to always surprise him. With her strong will and hidden talents, she kept hidden under her sleeve.
He was one of those people who made Isabelle feel safe to share more of herself with him just by being calm and confident.
She sighed and allowed herself to try and explain.
"I mean that I can't see clearly, I'm not what I used to be, but I'm also not sure what I'm becoming. the fog is really just evaporating into nothing –
Well, it doesn't disappear; the particles, I guess, all still remain."
Eric nodded his head. "I'm really not sure what you mean by that, Bell."
Isabelle looked at him for something more reassuring. Eric looked back with soft eyes and spoke.
"I can't pretend to know what you're going through. I think we all find it a little scary waking up each morning, with so much unknown and unpredictable events ahead."
Isabelle sat down on the edge of the pier and pulled out a cigarette.
"But likewise, great things can happen in a day too," Bella said, passing one to Eric.
"I like to think the best is always yet to come, so let's make the most of now until we get there," Bella said after her first drag.
This was just like her, to become her own answer and shake things off. She was not going to just sit around and complain. This is what Eric loved about her most.
"Should we go for a swim!?" was the first thing she said to him after their awkwardly long-held yet nourishing eye gaze.
"Let's see it!" Eric took a step away from her.
Isabelle walked to the edge of the pier and looked down. Changing her mind when she saw the strength of the currents below.
"I'm joking. I wouldn't on a day like today."
"What a princess," he scoffed. He was encouraging her to do something hazardous. Yet, to Isabelle, he made a good point. She was a princess; everything in life was handed to her. All she wanted to prove was that she was tough. Being the impulsive, angsty young woman she was, she began to undress. In her mind, jumping in the cold water was probably going to make her day a lot more interesting than if she just went to work. A nice jolt of cold water to the brain was what she felt like she needed. And some sense of accomplishment.
Her body immediately tensed from the cold as she began stripping the layers. She felt those eyes observing her as she awkwardly pulled the leggings off her hairy, goose-bumped legs.
"You're too lazy to shave? Or are you really that much of a hippie?"
Once down to her bra and underwear, she looked him in the eyes. Arms crossed around her belly, and she tried to relax, not to appear as cold as she was, before even attempting to make it to the edge of the dock. Each gust of wind stealing her body heat.
"Alrighty, now or never, eh?" Her lips quivered as she spoke.
"You're so wild, Isabelle." Music to her ears. With that, she jumped in.
The water was so cold she swam up, panicking for air. The current was much stronger than she anticipated, throwing her naked skin against a barnacle-covered beam. She gasped for air when she could, but it was mostly seawater. She kicked the rotting wood beam with her foot to push herself away.
By this point, Eric still didn't quite understand what had happened. He was a pro surfer who had spent more hours being crushed by waves than anyone can imagine. Eric didn't think anything could go wrong; confident she was a strong swimmer and surfer herself. He didn't consider her small frame and the water's temperature coupled with strong currents and wind.
Isabelle managed to get a breath and enough mental clarity to get herself towards the other side of the dock. But she knew something was wrong; her whole left side had been scratched and torn up by the barnacles, the cold saltwater stinging with intensity. She got out of the ocean in shock.
Eric, now laughing as he walked towards her. Still unaware of what had happened or not sure how to handle it. She sat on the floating platform's slimy wooden floor, which was rocking and swaying with each swell, jerking side to side.
"That wasn't what I expected" she tried to smile, eyes closed, still trying to play it off.
Eric noticed the blood now beginning to paint her entire body. Looking worse than it really was. He was nervous, but like Isabelle, he was not going to show it. All of a sudden, he realized what was going on. He realized that Isabelle could have been seriously hurt.
"Isabelle? Are you okay?"