Blurred. The faces are blurred. Distorted, like the voices that are owned by them. Slowly, as if in a trance, I turn through three hundred and sixty degrees. Looking up, I see the blue of the sky, but alien somehow. Looking back at the faces, I note with a strange sense of detachment, that I can almost understand what they are saying. Almost English, but not quite, always slipping from my understanding like a large polythene bag full of water being gripped with both hands..
I concentrate harder, trying to pick out something that makes sense. A faint echo resonates discordantly with the babble that pours into my struggling brain, swamped as it is with a deluge of speech. – but all jumbled. Wrong. Hideously wrong.
I tilt my head, as if this inclination will help me to decipher the cacophony, but to no avail. I still can’t make sense of the voices.
Maybe a little finger inserted into my ear canal and wiggled frantically will help. I do this, probing gently until I can go no further. I rapidly stir my fingertip around. No. That hasn’t helped.
I can hear my breath, loud and echoey in my ears. Discordant squeaks blend with the multitude of voices, further confusing the words.
“Oh well” I thought. “I’ve had enough of this”
So I cleared my snorkel, and swiftly swum to the shallow end, and hauled myself onto the slabs surrounding the pool.
“We thought you’d gone for ever” said my friend, passing me a chilled beer. “We were yelling to you to come out, as you were down for a good 90 seconds”
“Oh?” I said. “I never heard anyone saying anything” and with that I plonked myself into an empty pool chair, and happily popped the cap off the bottle.
Wiggling my little finger in my ear canal, I smiled as the faint voices suddenly boomed into my head with perfect clarity. Smiling, I closed my eyes, and relaxed into the embrace of the recliner, basking in the warm Hampshire sunshine.