'You can do it, I know you can.' He said. 'Just have some faith, in yourself, in life, just go for it.'
I stood on the shoreline frozen in fear, looking out into the blue beyond. Nothing could have looked more inviting or more like paradise, but to me it seemed imposing, overwhelming, faintly frightening.
His voice was light, quiet, gentle and kind, his Caribbean accent lulling me into a sense of security, I didn't yet know if that sense was false.
'You have a life jacket on, you can swim, you're a good swimmer, I've seen you. Don't worry. Just go for it.'
I walked towards the shoreline, the waves just kissed my toes, the sea was warm and covered my toes in its sandy shingle. I took a deep breath and plunged into the waves, my head just submerging and my life jacket keeping my body level with the surface. I swam towards the boat, the 2 drivers standing watching me with an air of paternal pride.
I reached the edge of the boat and the driver leaned over and grabbed my hand, a lifeline.
'Well done.' He said, smiling. 'I know you are nervous but this is the first part done.' He said releasing my hand and passing a water ski towards me.
'Breathe.' He said noticing my shallow breathing and my desperation for something to alleviate the fear.
'There it is again.' I thought. 'That bloody breathing thing, why is everyone telling me to breath?' I thought and as the boat gently drove away from me and I felt the slight pressure on the rope, there she was. My psychotherapist, sat in the back of the boat, her bejewelled feet propped up on the driver's seat. She was beaming, smiling at me, putting her thumbs up as I bobbed in the waves.
'OK?' Shouted the driver, mirroring her thumbs up.
'Ok.' I squeaked. Barely audible.
'Sorry?.' He said, exaggerating a hand to his ear.
'OK!.' I shouted
The boat started to move. My heart was pounding in my chest, threatening at any moment to stop altogether. My psychotherapist was propped up in the back of the boat, raising her glass to me (how does she always manage to get cocktails in the most unlikely of places?). The driver was gently urging the boat forwards, his deputy was keeping a sharp eye on me, 3 new Caribbean friends were watching me from the shoreline. Were they cheering? I couldn't quite tell.
After a couple of false starts and a fair few lungfuls of sea water, suddenly, the boat was moving and I was up. I was standing. On water skis. Something I've wanted to do for so many years that I've lost track of how often I've considered it and pushed it away.
It was exhilarating. I don't think I drew breath for the whole circuit.
'BREATH!' Yelled my psychotherapist from the back of the boat as her martini sloshed from left to right.
I took a long gulp of air and suddenly my shoulders relaxed, I rode the wake. I was waterskiing.
As I approached the shoreline, my new friends were whooping and cheering, high fiving, shouting. Were they congratulating me? I wasn't sure as the boat came into the shore.
As I turned, I heard them all applauding, shouting my name. These people who were strangers to me not 3 days ago made me feel as if I had walked on the moon.
For everyone else it was waterskiing, for me, it was a turning point and it gave me a mantra:
'Just have some faith, in yourself, in life, just go for it.'