The following is an excerpt from my short story Finders Keepers, which featured in the 2010 Little Gems Topaz Short Story Anthology:
Simone waded into the water up to her waist. It was freezing but she didn’t care. The colder the better, to numb her senses. She shivered as she splashed her arms and adjusted her swim goggles so they sat snuggly around her eyes.
The tinted lenses coloured her world blue. In the far distance the Sydney beachside suburb of Manly was a hazy silhouette of Norfolk pines and apartment blocks.
Closer to shore, off the rocky reef that protected Shelly Beach from the ocean swell, a group of scuba divers bobbed about, their heads glistening in the morning light like sleek seals.
Simone shivered again. It was rumoured that bronze whaler sharks frequented the reef. But in the twelve months since she’d moved to Manly with ‘that cheating bastard’ (her mother’s description) she’d never encountered one on her regular swims out to the point and back.
It’d be my luck to be taken by a man eater when I’ve just been chewed up and spat out by a woman eater. She smiled grimly and braced herself for the icy plunge.
Without hesitation she dived into the shallows and gasped for air as her head broke the surface. Quick to recover she stretched out, her arms, hips and legs propelling her forward as she found a regular rhythm to her stroke. The shock of the cold was life-affirming.
The water was calm and smooth. Simone was calm and… empty. Each time she lifted her left arm the ring on her wedding-ring finger jiggled up and down. It was becoming looser every day. She wondered idly if sudden weight loss affected every part of a woman’s body, from the earlobes to the little toes.
With its cumbersome diamonds, the ring felt heavy and she allowed it to slide down to her knuckle. On the next stroke it slipped a little further. Simone considered pushing it back on properly, but why bother?
Then it was gone. Treading water, she watched it plummet onto the edge of a rocky outcrop. The diamonds winked up at her as the sunlight caught their myriad perfect facets.
She couldn’t reach it. It was way too deep. She looked across to the divers on the other side of the reef. She could call them for help, but there was no point.
Checking her waterproof watch, Simone decided it was time to move on.