My friend asked over dinner if any of us wanted to go for a float. I gave it exactly zero thought before saying, “Sure.” He booked our appointments for the next morning.

1. The float studio was in a nondescript strip mall, the glass display windows, tinted. We opened the door to find a woman, with hair resembling the inside of a geode, strumming a ukulele. “You here to float?” she asked.

We nodded and explained this was our first time.

“What is floating?” I wondered out loud.

2. We had two options: One could be in a space that looked like a walk-in refrigerator with standing water; the other would be in a pod-shaped tub with a lid, like a retractable clam. The room smelled of brine. “How deep is the water?” I asked.

3. “Eleven inches,” she responded, “filled with one thousand pounds of epson salt.”

We were told to shower, plug our ears with wax, get in, close the door, turn out the light, and lie on our backs, palms up. The density of the salt water would hold us up—even our heads, even if we fell asleep, we wouldn’t drown, she reassured us.

“For how long, again?” my friend asked.

4. “Ninety minutes.”

We exchanged looks. For some reason, we both thought the float was for 30 minutes. What am I going to do with myself for an hour and half in the dark? In total silence?

BRB floating.

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5. “You can keep the light on,” she told us, if we wanted. But once I was in, lid lowered, and every science-fiction movie ever watched recalled, I was keen to give what was referred to as “space-dark” a whirl.

6. Sure enough, the water held me up. The length of my body bobbed to the surface. I pushed my palms downward against a surprisingly dense resistance. The salt stung surface scrapes. The temperature—though slightly cool in the beginning—soon matched my body temperature. I lost track of where my skin ended, and the water began.

7. I blinked, unable, sight-wise, to tell the difference between my eyes being open or closed. After awhile, I realized I was still holding up my head and bracing my lower half upward. I quit flexing. The relief was immediate. But then I lost my coordinates. I knew I was only a few inches from the bottom of the tub, but I felt as if I’d tilted upright and was head over feet.

8. In the darkness, my mind worked through one knotted problem after another. Then somewhere along the line, my thread of thoughts frayed and then disappeared. I lost track of time.

9. I heard my heart throb; my eyelashes beat together. My mechanics loud as airplane takeoffs; yet I floated way beyond cruising altitude. I wasn’t somewhere between departure and destination; I was anywhere.

The blue light came on. And an involuntary grin floated across my face from ear to ear.

My friend was in the lobby. “What’d you think?” I asked.

“Girl, I flipped off the light once and was, like, nope.” He laughed. “I took selfies and stretched, but my skin feels ah-mazing. You?”

“I want to do it, again.”

The geode woman nodded knowingly.