Friday, May 02, 2008


Remember swimming? Going to the pool for open swim on Monday nights, with the kick-boards and the pool noodles and the clamor? Wearing the skin off your toes on the rough cement floor?

That sickening belly-flop feeling.
That panicky I-went-too-deep feeling.
That horrible high-dive-what-was –I-thinking feeling.

You could pick people up in the pool – even really big people like grownups. I mean, you could actually lift them, not take them out on a date. You could do flips and handstands. You could float.

Remember those oversized lifeguard chairs and that big giant clock?

Our hair would freeze when we walked out to the car – even our nose hairs. Our eyes would burn and itch because, for some reason, they never got the chlorine levels quite right in Seward. We would lay on the living room couches, disinfected, damp and exhausted and my mother would listen to the silence and thank God yet again for swimming pools.

In college, there was a short time when Sam and I would go swimming every morning. This was a big step for us – Sam with her fear of sharks and Jessi with her fear of exercise. But it was good, using all those childhood strokes. Listening to my thoughts underwater.

I’ve started swimming again, here in Bath.

It has worked out pretty well, although people don’t take as kindly to a grown woman showing off her aquatic strength.

“Put me down!” they bluster.


Katrina said...

I loved swimming as a kid! We used to go camping at the lake a lot and I could have stayed in the water all day, or until I spontaneously dissolved. Fun, fun!

Megan said...

Wait, I have that EXACT memory. Maybe that is why your writing makes me laugh so much. Or maybe you are just very funny.

My swimming experience always ended with milk and tomato soup. My mom poured milk in my eyes to help with the chlorine burn, and tomato soup on my head to help dull the fluorescent green hair. The milk felt glorious. The tomato make me want to vomit as it dripped down my cheeks and sometimes (ewwww!) into my mouth.

Thanks for bringing back the memories.

GreenEggsandSam said...