After the ceremony he takes you out on his boat. His grad students are there too, leaning their beautiful bodies against the rails, wetsuits folded down at the waist. Strapping themselves into equipment like they know how to keep themselves alive under a hundred feet of water.
Luckily you are the only person on this boat who can drink this good champagne because you are the only one not planning to increase the pressure inside your body till your blood wants to bubble in its veins.
He handed you his award to hold while he’s diving. It’s just a ceramic disk on a ribbon striped like the flag. You could have bought it at a party store, or at least a good mimic. The edge of the ribbon is making your wrist itchy where you’ve wrapped it.
You lean your elbows on the railing. It’s just windy enough to pull bits of the dark surface up into foam. You’d never get into it like he does, like his students. They go under like they’ve been fantasizing about that cold wet on their thighs.
The water looks at you like it expects something from you. You are wondering what he’s been giving it when he goes down and kisses its floor. Why does it think it can keep him?
You have to do this thing to get him back and you don’t need anyone to tell you. He’s not the only one who can know secret things about the ocean.
You set the champagne glass down by your feet and unwind the ribbon from your wrist. It falls fast but there is a moment when the ribbon spreads itself out on the water before the disk pulls it under.
But you have saved him, look, there he is, rising from the water, pulling up his mask, laughing.