Friday, January 20, 2012

A Good Swim

 She tested the water with her toes. It felt a little chilly, once I start swimming it’ll warm up, she thought. She sat at the rim of the pool calves dangling over the edge; she began shoving her hair into her thin cap, adjusted her goggles, slipped off the wall and descended. A quick chill, her feet hit the bottom of the pool, knees bent, she pushed herself up and down and up and down, Alice always bobbed ten times before she began her swim, no reason, just a habit.
She hadn’t swum in weeks. She hadn’t done anything in weeks. Alice went to the pool that night hoping the silence of the water would somehow drown out the sound of her father’s voice, she yearned to rid his striking confessions, they played in her mind like the chorus of an annoying song interrupting her every thought, her every action, her every happiness. Alice vigorously pushed off the wall, glided until breath was necessary, took one deep breath on the right three  long strokes and another breath on the left. The stroke and the techniques were like second nature to Alice.  She felt comfortable here, she knew what do here, she knew how to get faster, and how to get better. The blue line provided an obvious guide, counting laps, timing laps, it was simple. Fastest time wins, no arguing, no one could bend the rules, it was fair. She swam until her shoulders and back ached. Alice pulled herself out the pool and into the showers, the warm water beating down on her skin, the world was back, as were her tears and she realized her life had no big blue guiding line, no matter how fast she was she knew she could not kick her way of this one.
This post was prompted by the lovely ladies over at Write on Edge. This quote: “The cure for anything is salt water….sweat, tears or the sea.”~ Isak Dinesen, pseudonym of Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke was to serve as our inspiration.

10 comments :

  1. I wish a was a good swimmer. . . since you were on the high school swim team can you teach me. ;-) I am doing water aerobics and it's a BLAST!! As always love your writing!

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    1. Jen, thanks for always reading my stuff. As far as teaching you to swim Mason would have you know I'm the worst coach there is. Maybe I'd be nicer to you..

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  2. Oh. This is so well done. I love it. We take my daughter swimming on Sundays and you totally captured the feel of the pool, the showers, everything and then brought in the emotion which took it over. I could smell the chlorine of the pool around me. Love this!

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    1. Andrea, good to know I captured the feel of the pool. I actually thought I should have added chlorine in there somewhere.. Thanks for reading.

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  3. Great job! I love it. LIttle things like "calves dangling over the edge" and "slipped off the wall" felt like such delicate little details that helped the story come alive.

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  4. I have a gripping fear of water, so I've envious of anybody, fictional, real, or historical, who can swim. The words you chose made it easy for me to take the laps with her, so very well done.

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  5. I love the description of the need to do something "normal" to fend off memories of other more negative things as they threaten to play again and again in the brain. We've all been there. I also like that you subtly contrasted the pool water with the saltwater of her tears... mirrors her feeling that she can't "kick her way out" of this.

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  6. Oh, the longing for a long blue guiding line...

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  7. There is something about water and the action of swimming that can be so soothing. You can definitely get away to a whole new world and forget about the stresses of your life.

    There are some issues with missing commas and some sentences that are a bit long...they go so long I lost track and had to retread a couple :) simple edits though

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