So here I am, all 53 years of me, loitering on the seabed awaiting my unplanned watery demise.
I try not to breathe too heavily as I am fully aware how rapidly the oxygen in my tank can deplete if panic sets in. At least I won’t have to worry about what to cook for tea tonight if this the final exit as I shuffle off this mortal coil. I will undoubtedly become useful as future fish fodder or, as time passes, a shark’s toothpick. Peacefulness settles over me as I sway alongside the Sea Anemones.
Closing my eyes I think back to all the wonderful things I have done in life and smile inwardly at the famous people I have met on my travels around the globe.
The young actor I lived (and cavorted) with back in the early 90’s who went on to become ‘The Master’ of his trade after I unceremoniously dumped him at drama school as I was too young, stupid and egotistical to live in his ever expanding shadow.
The vest-wearing big screen action hero of the 90’s, who decided he fancied a bit of karaoke whilst promoting his chain of restaurants in Hong Kong, who happened upon our dimly lit karaoke bar and then took it upon himself to invite a cascade of eager young waitresses back to his hotel to indulge in song, champagne and a couple of strange smelling cigarettes. Sitting in the shadows listening to the conversation I marveled how he remembered all these star struck female’s names and then, noticing my reluctance to partake in the hand rolled unfiltered, offered to blow the smoke from his mouth into mine whilst patting the seat invitingly beside him.
The Asian Kung-fu master I strolled arm in arm with down a never ending staircase, laughing theatrically until the director finally shouted ‘CUT’ when finally our painted smiles could morph into genuine ones. Silks and finery cast aside, he sat across from me on the floor eating dim sum whilst talking animatedly about how he missed his family and encouraged me to open up about my own travels and experiences along the way. After chopsticks were placed on empty bowls he shook my hand and bid me farewell as the pre-booked mini bus returned me to the other side of the island to the notorious 16th floor in Chunking Mansions and back to my jaded reality.
Slouching on the stern of a famous Jockeys yacht and attempting to act sober whilst throwing up the previous night’s tequila whenever he turned his back to pour us yet another glass of wine. Then to cap it all, falling ungracefully overboard into the shallow sea when my attempts to wipe off stray vomit from a glistening Jet Ski was rudely interrupted by a kamikaze seagull.
Being picked up in a limo by a very wealthy Asian hotelier, clad in my finest ‘Dolfe&Guarana’ only to be whisked off to a ‘Pay per hour’ hotel room which was encased in floor to ceiling wipe down pleather. Needless to say his happy ending never occurred and I marched my stupidly naïve self and my gravity defying stilettos off to the nearest Golden Arches where I treated me and my fragile ego to several items on the menu, washed down with a full fat cok (their spelling not mine)
Chatting quietly to Steve Pemberton about past episodes of Inside Number 9 whilst our eight year old boys ran amok inside stationary trains being used for the filming of the final scenes of Mapp & Lucia. The conversation unfortunately was cut short with the arrival of Miranda Richardson yelling as to the whereabouts of her teeth and the fact that her tuna had been fiddled with.
A gentle tap on my goggles brings me back to the present day. Two glass-encased blue eyes look enquiringly into my own. Whilst engrossed in my reverie the instructor had kindly replaced the flipper onto my foot and was giving me the signal to continue with the dive. Kicking my heels I leave a cloud of sand in my wake as I streamline my way back into the group who had scarcely noticed I had gone.
Looking around at the multi-coloured underwater utopia I realize how lucky we are to be able to have the freedom to have this adventure under the sea, even if we are temporarily unable to have anything similar on land.
I immediately make a promise to myself. From now on I am going to look forward and not back, Covid-19 will eventually end and the opportunity to create unforgettable memories will begin again. The world will open its creaking doors to all of us who are not afraid to walk through them and freedom will resume! (Apart from all of you who voted to leave the E.U. You should from this day forth be forced to eat only Poundland beans whilst camping in Skegness in February)
To be continued…
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