The walls are a white brick, aged bleachers are found in the front corner, they’re filled with friendly faces. Across, the lifeguard sits in her tall chair and nearby, an unused first aid station is at hand. You’re standing on the rim, ready to commence. Head first, arms in front; you hit the surface as amounts of water cascade behind you. You don’t move a muscle until your hands lightly touch the cold grimy tile beneath you. A shiver runs down your spine and your body tenses up, but only for a second until your body regulates its temperature. Slowly your arms come in front of you as your body stays horizontal. Your hands pull; push away strongly the stubborn waves that separate you and your goal. You hesitantly open your eyes, blink quickly and adjust the tight band holding small clear pieces of plastic over your eyes. The water is bright blue and perfectly clear, you can already see the three foot wall at the other end. To the left, you feel the presence of another swimmer, your competition. To the right, there is a wall, made with small one inch tiles in different shades of blue that blend in the water. There are two similar walls at both ends, confining you to this small space. Your body is surrounded by a different texture, as your lungs vibrate, your body gasps for air. In result, you tilt your head up and thrust your body towards the cover that separates reality and the weightless underground. There is a sudden adrenaline rush and you feel much lighter as though your body is floating in the air. Your arms start moving like a windmill and your feet start to kick, making an immense splash, one that would blind anyone around you. The smell of chlorine hits your nostrils, a smell so familiar and calming. Your arms start to ache, they become weary and your strokes less frequent. Your legs are fatigued; their movement is no longer visible, only your ankles are active now. The end is coming up as you glide past the numerous ripples your existence has made. Your hand reaches the edge and your fingers curl as you hold on tight. Your feet hit the cold tile; your weak knees bend to push you up out of the water. The humid air hits your shoulders as the water drips from your dark wet hair. You climb over the edge and are surrounded by the warmth of a towel as well as many cheers from the audience. Your freedom is gone, gravity exists again. You overcome the urge to jump back in, to feel liberation as you always do in the pool.
January 1, 2010