She stumbled toward the water, laden like a camel in the Sahara with scuba apparatus. Sweat beaded forehead, trickled down spine, puddled in the claustrophobic carapace over the constricting suit. Her back bowed under the weight of steel and rubber as she staggered the last few feet, falling to her knees with a splash.
Brilliance sparkled off the surface as she crawled forward, the ocean rising, clumsy as wavelets rocked her, off balance from heavy equipment. She slipped on her fins, swished her mask and slipped it over her head, put the regulator in her mouth and plunged under.
A rapture of cool rushing water filled her wetsuit, lifting her off the bottom in weightless flight. Her breath echoed in her ears and her exhale sang the song of a thousand silver bubbles. She inflated her vest to cruising altitude and kicked forward, the watery universe filling every sense and pore.
She used only her breath (breathe in, rise up, breathe out, drop down) to glide mere inches above the reef, smiling at the tiny fish sparkling and darting, colored gems, through the branching coral. Clams snapped shut in alarm as she approached, but tiny speckled red cleaner shrimp waved their services at her from the edge of the reef. Eels puffed their fangs in sensual threat and a shy octopus changed colors in her honor.
Deeper and deeper she went, until when she rolled on her back the vast cathedral of the sea arched above her, glowing hyacinth blue with faraway sun, buttressed by pillars of gleaming mercury bubbles. Under that rippling canopy she forgot, for a moment, the complex weight of being human.