I grew up on the water, on the rivers and canals, the flooded quarries and the rocky beaches of Wales. Every time the school bell called a screeching halt to the tedium and monotony of another half term, I was swept up in the tide of bodies crushing into the back of a car, and we sought out the fluid spaces. I have lain hidden at the bottom of pools for hours, watching the shadows of an alien world disfigure the surface. I have learned to walk on water with one foot, skimming the sluggish brown flow of North Western canals with the sole of one trainer while keeping the other glued to the gunwale. And I have imagined myself to be the prow of a ship racing the surf to shore, lying flat on my belly, my eyes and lungs full of stinging, bitter salt.
These days I find myself landlocked and dreaming of the sea. I wake in cold sweats, having dreamt of being held under water too long in the clutching trough of a colossal wave. The sea is terrifying, yet unspeakably beautiful and alluring. I have only to close my eyes and I can hear its deep, immortal whispering. I am never truly at ease without that sound.