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It is anchored there, like a buoy of protection, informing me of my inability and limitations, as if to say, “Do not swim beyond this point, silly child.” The ropes, north and south, define the boundaries.

But I am stubborn, the sea beyond looks bluer. The sun sparkles on the water’s surface out there past the buoys—a shimmering sheath strung across dangerous depths beneath a ceiling of stars.

In I dove, pushing the water back against my arms, pulling my feet in close beneath me, then with gusts of motion stretching my legs to their full extension, I paddled. Out I went to the deep.

I swam those waters, until, tattooed with starlike imprints left by seagulls’ footprints on my exposed skin, I woke. Tossed back to the water’s edge, I slept the night on the sand, covered with mist and moonlight.

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