The Secret Life of Words
written by Isabel Coixet
(Josef calls Hanna 'Cora' because she won't tell him her real name.)
Josef: Can you keep a secret? Hanna: Yes. Josef: Are you sure you can keep a secret? Hanna: Yes. Josef: Alright. I'll tell you but lean in close. I'm not going to say it too loud. l've got to whisper it in your ear. One... Lean in closer so I can tell you. Closer. Are you connected? Hanna: Yes. Josef: I can't swim. (They both laugh and he winces.) Ow. It's pretty ridiculous, isn't it? Alright, c'mon, that's enough. It's not that funny. Hanna: It's just that ... with ... With ... working here it seems a bit strange. Josef: It's not like a lot of people are lining up to jump off the diving board of the oil rig. C'mon, it's not a fucking aquatic park yet. ... ... Never was good in the water. There was this television series when I was a kid. You probably haven't heard of it, it's about a submarine. It was called ''Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea." And there was always these ... There was this great noise that the submarine made. (He makes a submarine motor noise) I can't do it. It was something like ... (he tries again) I was fascinated with this series, I ...I had nightmares that there were sea monsters coming after me. One summer my parents decided, "We're going to do a beach holiday. Everything was alright, for a while. I made sure my parents didn'tt realize I wasn't going anywhere near that water. It terrified me. I couldn't even go down to the water's edge. I couldn't even put my toe in, because I was convinced ...that these monsters were there, waiting for me. I was just busy building sand castles. So, one day ... my dad decides to rent a paddle-boat, and he got really angry, because I wasn't going to go on the paddle-boat, because I was very busy with my sand castles. He got furious and he scooped me up and forced me on it. And then he started to peddle furiously, you know, with this kind of uncontrollable rage. And I was trembling, I was sobbing, and he was saying, ''Spent five bucks on this paddle-boat. We're gonna have a good time if it's the last thing we do!'' Before you know it, we were pretty far away from the shore. He stops pedaling, and ...he stands up and he says something like -- I've no idea what he said. Picks me up ...and he throws me in the water. I start sinking to the bottom. I keep going deeper, and deeper, and deeper down. And there, I swear, Cora. There's this big, black, gelatinous ... something. It had these big bulging eyes, and ...tentacles. And it saw me. And it started coming after me. And that was the last thing I remember. I woke up in a hospital bed ...
You know what? My father ... When he ... when he threw me in the water. He didn't know how to swim either.
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