Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta swimming. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta swimming. Mostrar todas las entradas

sábado, 18 de junio de 2016

Swimming

   The light seemed to be far away, moving far from my fingers each time I moved my arms. The space I was in seemed very open and, for a moment, I felt that would be the feeling of being floating in space, without a proper astronaut suit of course. I have no idea why I thought that at that moment. Isn’t the brain supposed to prioritize things in our bodies in order to make us live longer? However, I could almost see the ship I had come out too, floating silently in front of me, and a big planet below me. But all that didn’t matter because I was about to die.

 The thought lasted just a second but it was strong enough for me to move faster, to force my tired arms to do a little bit more work. Every single vein and nerve in my body was crying in pain, my brain hurt so much I couldn’t stand it. I had always wished to be taller in order to have bigger arms and feet, which would have helped so much in that moment. But I wasn’t.  I was just the opposite of that and I was in a position where wishing was useless.

 My last movements towards the light were desperate. It was then when my body felt like it was empty. Every single thing that had no real use, every function that didn’t serve a purpose in that moment, they all disappeared in order to focus on the fact that I was going to die if my body didn’t perform something close to a miracle. Because I had never done what I about to do. It was a triumph I would never really be aware of and that’s ok because it worked.

 It was my right hand, my main hand if you will, the first limb of my body to feel the air outside. It felt terribly cold, colder that the water in the lagoon. The air seemed to be against me too but the difference was I could breathe that. The water was different, invasive and dangerous. Before and after that, I could never understand the people that are fascinated with water and would like to spend their lives in it.

 I guess that makes me a hypocrite. Because I kind of was one of those people before that. Since the earliest age, my parents took me to the ocean, to swimming pools, lake or wherever I could swim. I took classes and even competed for prizes when I was in school. Modesty aside, I won several of those competitions because I had a serious passion about the water, about how my body moved in it and it felt like home.

 The hard time would be during my teenage years when, for reasons I shouldn’t address, I became increasingly larger in size. And it was nature doing its job; it was more like junk food and sugar doing their thing. It was then when I got depressed for the very first time. Self diagnosed, of course. I never went to any doctor or shrink to tell me how I felt. Even at that age I found the concept ridiculous.

 Of course, I stopped my swimming. I was too big for the bathing suit and too sad to move my arms that fast. It was like that for years and I had to put away any remainder of who I had been before because it hurt too hard. Somehow, I had become a disappointment for myself. Is there anything more pathetic than that? I have no idea. The point is my attention shifted from one thing to the next. You can blame puberty for that. I just had to survive high school so, as when I swam, my body had to get its priorities straight.

 It was only in my last years of college, more than ten years after I had dropped out of the swim team in school, that I came back to the water. It’s amazing to think about it, but in that time I never really swam. Yes, I went to the beach or to houses with pools. But I would only be in the water for a moment, if at all. Maybe surprising but true. I felt I didn’t belong there anymore so why overstay my welcome?

 Aged twenty-three years old, I discovered a gym close to my house that had a swimming pool. The best part was you could reserve one of the swimming lanes for an hour and didn’t put anyone to tell you how to do anything. It was absolutely free of that. So I decided to go and, at first, I felt as drowned as in the lagoon. But I decided I would not ask for help and, slowly, it all came back to me.

 After my first week, the people that worked there congratulated me for my style, my technique. Although one of them reminded me, as if I didn’t know, that I was too short and that could be a problem. I know what he meant: being short in a pool is a problem because you take longer to reach the other side, even if it is by a few centimeters. Those can be decisive in a competition and they were certainly decisive in the lagoon. If I had been taller, the sense of terror would have been less powerful.

 When I had two arms outside of the water, the only thing I could do was taking a big breath. I felt alive, although barely. My legs hurt so much but they kept on moving until I reached the shore, which was obscured by the shadow caster over by the rocky structure above the lagoon. It was like a vault that enclosed the whole system. Why would I ever think it was a good idea to swim in a flooded cave?

 But as the soon got higher in the sky, the place seemed to get larger and the water revealed itself as so transparent and perfect. The sky was evenly reflected on its surface. It was so well done, the surface of the water, that had calmed down fast after I had gotten out of it, seemed like a huge mirror where God could check himself out.

 I lay down in my back, conscious I would have to swim back to the exit. Before I got comfortable, I checked for animals, bugs and others. After all, it was an arid place and little animals are known to live through the cracks of rocks and such. But when I was down, looking at the sky through the opening before me, I realized that was, again, my first time swimming in a very long time.

 The pool in the gymnasium was great. After some time, I got a proper job wearing a tie and a suit, which I’ve always hated, so I had to move my swimming hours to a later time. I would go the moment work finished, around six or seven in the afternoon. I would stay there for an hour, not stopping for more that a few seconds. I got new fans, new people that told me they were really surprised by me. I can’t tell you how much I loved that attention, which I had never gotten for anything else.

 However, I caught the eye of one particular person and from then on, I only cared about his comments and his smiles. I had learned not to let opportunities go by, so after a week of random looks, I decided to approach him after I was done swimming. It was weird because it was in the locker room, where people grabbed their stuff to have a shower or changed their clothes. He was wearing his bathing suit, like me, when I asked him if he would like to have a drink in a bar close to there.

 That was our first date. We considered it our first date a year later, when we celebrated the anniversary of our relationship. We didn’t really celebrate, we just got together and did the things we both like: we went swimming to a beautiful lake, we had a picnic with many delicious things to eat and we kissed and made love in my car, which was incredibly comfortable for such a vehicle.

 Our relationship lasted for almost three years. One month shy of our relationship turning three years old, he was assaulted in the street by some guy that wanted to steal his money. The guy had a gun and shot him with it, once. The bullet hit his spine. We all got to the hospital in time to say a few words. Then, he was gone. As if he had never existed. We had so many plans, a life of plans. This city is crazy.


 I came to the desert because of what happened. I needed to escape from everyone and everything. I still think about him, date and night. I cry for him and I also have wet dreams with him. But it’s in the water I feel him the most. I guess that’s why I challenged myself to swim through the flooded cave. And that’s why I’m challenging myself to go back. For him but also for me. I need to feel alive again.

martes, 26 de abril de 2016

Swimming

   The water felt really nice, wrapping his body in a very warm and soft cocoon as he went from one side to the other of the pool. Jim had always put aside a couple of hours of his schedule to swim because he enjoyed it a it relaxed him. He didn’t like to have massages or go to the sauna or things like that. Only the water was good enough for him. If he was visiting a place by the sea, the first thing he did was checking out the beach and swimming a bit. He preferred swimming pools, because of the lack of sand; he didn’t mind seawater from time to time. He found it to be a little more challenging but fun too.

 Jim had learned to swim from a very young age and had developed a very healthy relationship with water. Whereas many kids his age were scared of water, he had always loved it. He never forgot to ask if a party in some friend’s house involved a swimming pool and he made sure his mom always double-checked. Only once he went to a party with a pool and had to sit b the side and se everyone have fun and not him. So from then on he was always prepared.

 As a man who worked in the stock exchange, many people thought he would always go to the gym or do more intense exercising. But he only loved swimming and that’s how he maintained a nice body and a healthy lifestyle. He ate well. No diets or anything but just very balanced and swam every single day without fail.

 One day, his daily routine was stopped by a car crash. He always drove the same route to get to the gym to swim and it made him insane that the traffic was so heavy that he didn’t move art all for thirty minutes. Eventually, he arrived late to the gym but used the two hours anyway, without really thinking about how that changed his whole schedule. As he did his exercise at night, right after work, it meant that he would have dinner two hours later and that he would check his emails later too and sleep less than normal.

 But he didn’t care or maybe he didn’t noticed. He got to the gym and used the pool and when he was out, he was surprised to see the place was deserted. Only a couple of cars were left with his in the parking lot and when he got home it was almost midnight. He had some salad that he always bought premade, with lots of vegetables and stuff. It was a bad call because the aching muscles because of he swimming got combined with an aching stomach that found hard to digest some veggies at that time of day, with no energy left.

 He checked his emails like at two in the morning and there were many. He only got to reading about ten and answering even less than that. He was tired and he fell asleep in his couch.

 The next day, he was very late for work. He showered for only a couple of minutes; instead of the ten minutes he normally took for that. He also put on clothes that didn’t really look that good, which was strange because he had always been the kind of guy to pay attention to detail. But he was so tired he could barely see what he was putting on his body. The worst part was when he remembered, once at work, that it was a day filled with meetings with many people from different companies. The good thing was that the meeting took place at work but he wasn’t prepared at all for them.

 His coworker Julia had to step in quite often to correct number he was saying or to clarify things that were confusing because of the yawning. Every single group of every company could see that Jim was not in his best shape and moment. He hadn’t really shaved and he had quite a shadow, which made him look careless. His clothing, including two socks of different color and a pair of shoes that didn’t match anything, did not help his case either.

 Yet, he attended to the meetings all morning until lunchtime. Normally, he used to go to a very nice vegetarian restaurant that was close by. They had a really great variety of food for people that didn’t ate red meat or any kind of meat. But Jim was so tired that, when he went to his office to grab his jacket, he fell asleep on the desk and was only woken up by Julia, two hours later, telling him she had to attend to the first meeting of the afternoon.

 The rest of the day was even worse for him. He couldn’t really get the numbers and the names rights, he confused one company with the other and yawned almost with everything he said. He eyes looked terrible and so id his hair and everyone could see it. The thing was, most of the people in the meetings knew him, because they did exactly that once a month and had always being so prepared and charming and on point. Now, he was just a very horrible train wreck.

 When time came to go, Julia advised him he shouldn’t take the car back home, advising him to better grab a taxi or something like that. But he just nodded and ignored that comment because he had to go a swim, like he always did. So he went to his car, put on some loud music to really wake him up and drove all the way to the gym closing his eyes in every red traffic light and singing quite loudly when he felt he was about to go to sleep.

 Because of that reckless idea, he hit another car in the back and had to give all his insurance information and was late for the gym, again. He had lost time and money again and he was just exhausted. But he kept pushing himself for some reason.

 In the pool, he was able to swim nicely for the first ten minutes or so. But then something happened and the lifesaver in there had to get him out of the pull and give him mouth to mouth. When he woke up, they had called an ambulance and the paramedics were in the locker room checking him for water in the lungs and such things. He assured him he was fine but they insisted on taking him to the hospital to run further tests. He said no once, twice, three times and then grabbed his things and went to his car

 Jim felt frustrated because he hadn’t been able to swim at all. He felt weak now and something had changed in his life and he didn’t like it at all. It was like giving up on the one thing that made him stable. So he just hopped in the car and drove as carefully as he could and thanked the day for being a Friday. He would sleep until late and would still have time to do all the things that he could normally do on a Saturday. Besides, he was arriving home early.

He made himself a cheese sandwich and just watched some TV before going to bed. He fell asleep very quickly and, the next day, was able to wake up really early and really catch up with his schedule. He did everything by the book and was happy that the day was a very good one for him. The weekends had always felt like the worst time wasters ever but now it seemed he had discovered a way to make them have a meaning.

 That was until he collapsed in a large sports store where he was checking out bathing suits and earplugs. Then everything got like darker and he just fainted. Paramedics came soon and, this time, he didn’t woke up until they were in the hospital. They explained him that he did have water in his lungs but that part wasn’t really the worst one. They also told him he suffered from a rare condition caused by stress where people eventually collapsed because of all the stress they put on their bodies.

 He argued with them, saying he didn’t really do that much exercise and that he loved his work and so on. But the head doctor told him all of that wasn’t important at all. The point was that if he kept living the way he did, he was going to kill himself from exhaustion. He had to make some radical changes to his life and he had to make those changes soon because his body was just done with his lifestyle.


 Jim spent an entire week in the hospital, as they ran some tests. He felt useless in that bed and wanted to run out of there and swim some more and then do his work. He wanted his life back. But then the words of his doctor sunk in: his body was done with who he was and now he had to change every single piece of that.