Snap of latex to my head. Goggles tight across my face. Toes grip the edge of the pool.
Vacuum of suspense.
I launch. Airborne. Gravity takes hold. I pierce the water.
A cold eclipse.
I bellow through the tranquil surface. I lash, dominant, the fury of my body, the frustrations of my lack of control demanding that I be given superiority in this terrain, and she, the captive water, should submit to me here. I am the active, she is the passive.
Sun light dapples through the ripples on the surface, the ripples that emanate from my body. My presence is violent. I thunder. I crash. I thunder, I crash. I gulp in air.
I thunder, I crash, I gulp in air. I tumble. I turn. As my hands mechanically break her soft bones. With each stroke bubbles follow my fingers into the depths, and I watch them scream back toward the surface. I muse they come from my fingertips- like a spider’s silk from spinnerets. I thunder. I crash. I gulp in air. I tumble. I turn; Until I accept that I am in her world. I am under her skin, like she is my mother, and my fury subsides and I give in to the rhythmic lap of her song.
Do I make this rhythm or does she?
Breast stroke. The water sighs a relief. My stroke less violent. I extend my arms, I bring them around and tuck them into myself. I extend my arms, like a moth, like a bird, my shadow on the bottom of the pool, and sunlight around me in a halo as if I am an angel.
I am negative space, defined by an aura of light and the water ripples away from me; the water comes back. The water ripples away from me, I extend my arms and repeat- lost in this meditation.
I am negative space and the water is like day filling in the gaps around my form. The sunlight is dancing on the bottom of the pool, moving with my body like song. I extend my arms, I breathe in air, I exhale and listen to my lungs.
I. Slow. Down.
I am in her, and I feel held.
Crash and thunder two more bodies enter the pool. Loud. Aggressive colours. Angry strokes. Violent, as I was just minutes ago. They are racing each-other. Now they race me. Competing with my slow stroke. Challenging me. Monkeys looking for a game to keep their minds engaged. But I am engaged elsewhere. I don’t want to play. I already have my game. Extend and stoke and breathe in air.
Underwater I see a woman’s two, large legs, in a little modesty skirt that lifts and twirls with her weightless prancing. In the most wonderful way she moves like a rollie polly child, or like the hippos in fantasia. I chastise myself for thinking this, but it’s too late, I am lost in the joy of watching her as she moves like a balletic Neil Armstrong on the moon… like a body in zero gravity. The giant legs elegantly prance, galanta and tropple from one end of the pool to the other. It is joy surely, that she is feeling- that she is spreading- through the captive water; lost in her world as she is. In her folly, her reverie.
A still moment now. A minder has swum away from their down syndrome keep. I look and see the resemblance. A father and son. The father is weary. The son is old enough to be left alone for moments, but perhaps not able enough to be left alone entirely. The father floats on his back, eyes closed, a moments peace- or perhaps a prayer. The boy is unknowingly exhausting as he dreamily clings to the lane ropes.
Shallow end. A child screams at grandmother swimming in a sunhat and shades. I offer to help as she looks to the heavens. She smiles wanly. ‘He is very tired…’ I wonder if she means to speak of herself. The screaming reaches fever pitch. In dive under the water. My ears embrace the muffled world. Here the child is silent. The lady is dancing. The father is floating. The son is aimlessly bobbing on the lane rope. The swimmers do breast stroke now- calmed.
Our inner worlds make islands of us in the water that hold us together.
I retreat to shower. The warm water runs its welcome down my body. I slowly depart. The father and son are gone. The grandmother and child are gone. The swimmers are gone. The dancer is alone coming up the ramp out of the water. She is slow and heavy and in pain. She lumbers toward her walker. Today’s ballet is over.
© Tropical Writers Inc 2024