Breathe

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I take a deep breath

Clench my fists, preparing myself for the inevitable Shock of the entry. When it finally happens, when my toes push myself from the safe ground, through the dangerous veil, it's hard to breathe. Impossible, actually, for humans. I kick my legs hard, my hips pushing, abs clenched. Then once again the veil-

It's broken. The first strokes are beautiful, the balance between life and death, still shaky. My elbow draaags my fingernails across the veil, biceps flexed and glistening and strong and muscular.

The balance becomes clear at the flip. I can tell that death is winning, but I still snap my legs over and push from the wall, perfectly pushing my hips, defining the line running down my stomach, exhaling my precious air.

The breakout: luxurious; it is after all only warm-up. The lower, deeper arm pulls forcefully down, striking the water away from the surface, a truly impossible task. However, my arms don't know any better. After two strokes my head tips and sips-

The glorious, wonderful air. The real basis for all life washing into my lungs, momentarily cooling their insatiable need, that removes the heat that burns them. Is it disastrous or wonderful that such a natural, savage, human things can be brought to such a high, placed upon such a pedestal?

I simultaneously loathe and love the need as my heart rate quickens; each breath more important than the last, rushing to temporarily calm the storm in my crying muscles. The lactic acid burns, breaks. They will build and become like the breaths, more human and savage with each stroke.

The veil and the air beyond are cool, and the skin begins to long for that space as their temperatures increase steadily to boiling. The sweat leaves me, mixing with the chlorine, spit, and pure hard work that has gone into the life of this pool. Blood and tears, vomit and pain.

As I near the next wall my lips twitch into a secret smile, knowing that only a fifty was behind me and that over four thousand more yards had yet to be seen. A challenge and a wonder my heart longed and swelled for.

I also found myself witty in realizing that the pool will never give out before the girl.





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