Wednesday, February 3, 2010

tiled lines and chlorine fingerprints - the persistence of my inner thighs.

i have been swimming.
just a little bit.
i have been swimming less like the spry camp counselor i once was who finished the swim test faster than all the girls and all but one of the boys and more like the octogenarian two lanes over, but i am slower than him and i swim in a bizarre zigzag where i run into the ropes with my poorly formed hands.
i breathe out large bubbles and bring my head up for small gasps.
when my legs learned to pedal a bicycle, they forgot how to scissor kick. when i my lungs learned to breath in time to the street, they forgot how to breathe with my rotating arms.
i'm not crying, it's just the chlorine,
turning my full hazel eyes into squinty red blemishes.
i'm crying because i can't rescue the brick at the bottom of the pool.
because i'm scared that at nine feet i'll forget how to do anything other than get back to air and i can't distract myself with a ten-pound weight.
my mom told me to imagine that the brick was my orange tabby, arthur. i started to cry. i can't save arthur.

i don't think i'll make a very good lifeguard.

i signed up for a lifeguard training/certification class for my p.e. credit. the class started monday. before monday, i hadn't swam in a year and a half. and i am really out of shape. part of the lifeguard PRE-TEST is swimming to the bottom off the nine-foot deep pool and rescuing a 10-lb brick and bringing it back to the other end of the pool. i tried like three times on monday, each time paralyzed by fear, treading water above the brick. i kept thinking of summer camp, when the councilors who could swim (always me) had to learn how to do "waterfront searches", our emergency action for when we thought a kid might be drowning in the swimming area. we had to swim two strokes forward, surface dive three strokes down with hands open and searching ready to grab a body, come back to the surface, one stroke back, surface dive, repeat. it was slow and i was utterly terrified every time i dove, even though it was only practice. what if i found someone? what couldn't i see?
so i have been swimming today and yesterday, and hopefully everyday, just to get more comfortable in the water.
if i can't get that brick on monday, i can't learn to be a lifeguard - i will have failed the pre-test and i will not get to take the class. i don't even want to be a lifeguard. i would be either negligent or incredibly paranoid when i sat in that lifeguard chair.
i have to get that brick.
i have to save my cat.

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