I used to have a crush on Apnea, a tattoo model from Texas. She was one of those who convinced me that I needed a tattoo myself.

I love the feeling of apnea. When I’m swimming, what I love the most is to dive as deep as a I can and swim under water until I can no longer bear the pressure on my lungs. Then I paddle wildly to emerge again and gasp for air. Sometimes it hurts. I have a thing for pain. I used to swim kilometer every single day for months. OCD has that effect on me. One kilometer or nothing, even during lunch break. I used to work as an account manager at an advertising agency and while my colleagues went to fancy lunches or team meetings or simply shared a sandwich like normal people do, I snuck out and drove to the pool, all made up from my morning routine with mascara and eyeliner and went to swim my kilometer. Afterwards I looked like hell, with marks from the goggles around my red watering eyes, but I didn’t bother to dry my hair or put on make-up again. I had short platinum blonde hair back then, that helped. I drove back to work feeling a tiny bit satisfied and relaxed. I usually had a piece of chocolate for lunch in my company car. An electric blue Toyota, I still remember the license plate, EZB.

Nothing like me.

I listened to Trent’s screaming voice when I drove back, taking wild turns.

I’ve spent all my life looking for the perfect drug

You don’t need an ocean to feel like you’re drowning. You feel it, between your chest and your throat, the weight of it stretching you outside your self, like a dead fish on the shore

Malak El Halabi

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