Gifflet was gliding in warm waters that slipped around him with ceaseless strokes, brushing him so softly that it almost wasn’t a touch, but nearly a nestling, a rocking. He didn’t know if it was light or dark, or perhaps his eyes weren’t open; but it didn’t matter. He was warm. He drifted. After a long while, he moved, flipped around, and then found himself suspended, head down. It didn’t bother him that he didn’t need to breathe. He dangled in the calm. He didn’t know if there was sound; it didn’t matter
But then he heard something. Something from far away, muffled, rumbling, rhythmic. And for the first time he wanted. He more than wanted: he was flooded with desire. He flopped around, trying to go in some direction, to get closer, to hear better, but he couldn’t. The sound remained far, far away and so sweet that he was filled with a nameless hurt. He could almost, almost . . . It was nearly a voice, he could almost hear it—and he sat up in bed to the sound of restless waters smacking against the walls of The Old Boathouse, and he didn’t know if he’d been dreaming, or transported in a vision, or something else; and his face was salty and wet, whether with tears or the deep, he could not tell.