ISLAS ROSARIO, Colombia I fold my knees like a penitent and drift down inside the San Martine wreck.
Not just any wreck. Baby's first wreck.
She's only a fishing boat, but I adore every scrimshaw of sage algae on pink rust, even the caustic white flare of fireworms, disturbed by my clumsy passage. We fin along her flanks, swoop low over her decks, explore her hatches. Furred chainlink stretches into the darkness of one.
A square shimmers, strangely convex, in the ceiling. We rise into the air pocket; vision wham slingshots to normal focus. I long to spit my regulator and sample that stale bubble, but I behave. No point pushing things at baby's first wreck ... with an instructor, no less.
Fernando and I ascend along the reef, spooking great, stupid schools of fish. I coast over tubes and spikes and bulges, an architecture straight from George Jetson's dreams.
For three minutes, we linger at 15ft: the safety stop percolates nitrogen from our bloodstreams. I hold my fins, trying not to pogo. Fernando hangs as still and inscrutable as a Buddha.
"What's wrong?" he bellows at the surface. "You're bouncing around and sucking air like a guy, not like a woman who does yoga.
"You're ... you're in love!"
"Quite the opposite," I hiss. "I just stopped seeing a rescue diver."
Fernando's a good man. He doesn't mention my oxygen-guzzling again.
I never gulped air before. But now, with each exhale, I'm trying to purge a terrible weight. The pressure dial plummets.
Oh, it's all pheromones and nostalgia, I know. But the sensation still threatens to rip through my chest into the Caribbean.
I will try not to breathe
I can hold my head still with my hands at my knees
These eyes are the eyes of the old, shivering and bold