Swan Dive

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  • Scent Notes
    A cool, refreshing stream that flows into a large river basin near a wide rice paddy. Lemongrass, ginger, and a hint of hay perfume the air as you jump into the clean, clear pool of water.
  • Description

      Scent Notes: A cool, refreshing stream that flows into a large river basin near a wide rice paddy. Lemongrass, ginger, and a hint of hay perfume the air as you jump into the clean, clear pool of water.

      It had been the worst week of her life. Cecelia took a breath, attempting to calm her nerves, willing the tears to stay in her eyes until she made it out the door at the very least. She realized she was unsuccessful when she heard them hitting the top of the box she was carrying. The last box, the last few steps, ignore his voice, get out the door and to your car, just keep moving, she thought, forcing her way through the door, hoping that she hadn’t forgotten anything because there was no way in hell she was setting foot in this apartment ever again. “Babe!” she heard him call one last time as the door swung shut and she broke into a full-on run, heading down the four flights of stairs at breakneck speed, no longer pretending she wasn’t openly weeping. Thankfully, the stairs and building lobby were empty, so only the security cameras caught her sobbing and sprinting out to her car, where a parking ticket awaited her as she’d left the pass with the door keys inside the apartment. Crying and cursing out loud, she opened the trunk and put the last box in, before finally getting in and sitting behind the wheel to just sit and cry for a while. She knew she needed to drive away, in case he was going to try and come down and convince her to stay, but she couldn’t get herself to move. 

      It felt like hours had passed with Cecelia slumped over the wheel, when she heard a knock on her window. She was sure it was Andrew, trying to be sweet and convince her to stay, but she looked up to see the parking attendant. “You have to leave, ma’am,” he said not unsympathetically, noting the makeup that had run all over her face and her severely red and swollen eyes. She nodded, turned the car on, and pulled down the visor to look at herself in the mirror. She nearly cried out at the sight of her appearance, but then shrugged, put the visor back up, and drove away. After a quick stop at a fast food restaurant to get enough food for six people, Cecelia made it to her tiny studio apartment. She didn’t bother to unpack her car, and headed straight inside to flop down onto whatever furniture remained and watch something terrible and eat all the food. 

      It seemed impossible that so many terrible things could have happened in such a short span of time. Two days ago, she’d been abruptly fired from her high-earning job in tech due to a corporate merger. She’d been with the company since its start-up days, which made it feel even more like a slap in the face to be let go during this merger, which she’d helped to negotiate in the first place! Sure, the payout wasn’t bad, but the indignity of the situation! Cecelia put a french fry into her mouth, then another, and another and another, then finally stopped to chew. She had let her rage fuel her into helping pack up the rest of her apartment, and yesterday she had gone over to the spacious new apartment she was supposed to start renting with her boyfriend Andrew, only to find him with a “friend who was just helping me move!” he’d yelled, pulling his pants back on after Cecelia had walked in on them engaged in a complicated packing process. She’d dropped the box and walked out, going back today to get the rest of her things. Her lease was up in less than two weeks, and now she had no boyfriend, no job, would soon be homeless, and was out a hefty deposit and application fees. Plus her plates were all broken from when she dropped the box two days ago. 

      Cecelia pulled her phone out of her purse along with the multitude of sauce packets she’d shoved in there, and turned it on. She’d had it switched off since she’d gotten drunk and called her best friend on the opposite side of the country the day before, crying about her shitty life before falling asleep on her floor with the edge of her blanket dipped into some nacho cheese, which had hardened spectacularly overnight. “I should probably wash that,” she mumbled to herself as her phone sprang to life and inundated her with all she’d missed: calls and texts and sobbing voicemails from Andrew; multiple calls from her old job asking questions about how to pick up all the pieces that had fallen when she’d left; 55 Facebook notifications; more than 30 texts and 10 calls from her best friend. “I can’t deal with this,” she thought, switching the phone back off and picking up a taco in one hand and a burger in the other and turning up the volume on the TV. She stayed that way for the rest of the night. 

      She fell asleep at some point, stomach rumbling from all the greasy food. When she awoke early the next morning, stiff and covered in crumbs under her dirty bedspread on the floor of her living room, she somehow felt better. Turning her phone back on, she got up and headed into the kitchen to make some instant coffee. She didn’t even listen to the voicemails and just called her best friend, Jess, who picked up on the first ring. “Where the fuck have you been?” Jess asked, panic in her voice. But Cecelia was strangely calm. “I deserve to be yelled at, but I have to tell you about my dream.” “Okay, your life is on fire, but you’re concerned with a DREAM?” Jess asked incredulously. “Yes, now shut up and let me tell you about it.” Cecelia paused and took a sip of coffee. Jess, dutifully, stayed silent. “Remember when we were in high school and were on the swim team? Remember how I could never do the high dive? Well, I was back in high school. NOT naked, before you even ask that question, but it was me in the present, on the swim team, and we needed somebody to do the high dive at a meet, and for whatever reason it was up to me. I felt so panicked; I could physically feel myself climbing the ladder, and even in my sleep I felt nauseous. Maybe that was all the fast food I ate last night. Whatever. I got to the top of the board and looked down, terrified. It seemed like I was two thousand feet in the air. But some part of me calmed down and said, ‘The only way out is down and through.’ I looked down again, and it wasn’t nearly as far. So I took the chance, and I jumped. It was a perfect dive.” She paused for another sip of coffee. “Of course, as I was getting out of the pool, my swimsuit was somehow gone, but then I woke up, and I feel awesome today.”

      Jess sighed. “I’m glad you feel better, but honey, what are you going to do? You know there’s always room for you here, but I know you don’t want to—” Cecelia cut her off. “I’m going to trust the universe. Clearly, my time in this city, in this job, is over, and I’m going to get out of here. I’m packing up my stuff and driving out to you. I’m going to interview at tech jobs and, worst case scenario, become a freelance tech consultant. I’m great at it, and those assfucks screwed me over. I can do better than Andrew, anyway; there are plenty of fish in the toolbox or whatever. I’m taking a breath, I’m trusting the universe, and I’m flinging myself head-first into an adventure and a new life. And I’m going to stop eating as much fast food … after the road trip.” Cecelia could feel Jess smiling through the phone. “I can’t wait for you to get here!”

      Scent Notes: A cool, refreshing stream that flows into a large river basin near a wide rice paddy. Lemongrass, ginger, and a hint of hay perfume the air as you jump into the clean, clear pool of water.

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