I went back to the pool last night. It’s a saltwater pool so it doesn’t smell like chlorine. Most of the other people were doing butterfly strokes with lots of expressive limb gestures. Like they were urgently trying to say something and no one was listening.
I was just walking back and forth. I’d walk the 25 meters, tap the coping, and turn around and walk the other way. I’m sure some people must have thought I was pretty tall to do all that walking in deep water, but I was wearing a flotation belt no one could see.
Except when the other swimmers splashed me I didn’t even get my head wet. One guy was frog kicking. He popped his head out of the water to breathe and went under again. Kicking and breathing and disappearing.
The thing about water is that it makes me feel weightless. Like my body is finally free of itself. Dolphins must think about this all the time. If you’re always weightless, do you realize you’re weightless?
Walking the pool, I quickly ran out of things to think about so I read the warning posters. Obviously, no diving. But also, something about not hogging the jets when others were waiting. And this pool wasn’t very friendly to people with open wounds.
The hot whirlpool could hold up to fifteen persons, but bathing caps were strictly forbidden.
There was a sign inside the co-educational steam sauna that discouraged anyone with a disease, but how could anyone read it with all of that steam wafting around? I sat under the sign and began coughing.
In the locker room it took me twenty minutes to break into my locker. I’d used a combination lock and I’d been so worried about remembering the odd-number, even-even combination, that I’d locked my glasses inside.
After the work out, I tell you, I was starving. I confided to Julia I’d lost four pounds. “Really?” she said. She added the dinner napkins to the pile of laundry that included my bathing costume. “I didn’t know you were counting.”
But I wasn’t counting. Standing on the scale was just something to do while I waited for someone to walk into the locker room who could open my lock. Still, I wondered if she were curious about my new lithe swimmer’s physique and how tall it made me feel.