I am staring up at the sky, and I can see the clouds rolling by. I am going the other way. We are giving a nod to one another as we go our way.
The sounds above me are all muffled, of people going on with their lives. I put them out of my mind. They don’t mind me, and I certainly, at this moment, don’t care about them. The sounds around me are different. They are bubbled and thunderous but deadened. They don’t hurt like the stark sounds of being above.
I glide. Above, I ache, I hurt, I am slow. I can barely move forward. But here, I am a Titan. Gods wish they could move like me. This is where I want to be. My muscles move the way I want them to. They ache and scream with the movement, but there is support under every part of my body holding my limbs as I reach.
I turn face down now, tuck my head, and open my eyes. The world is clear, and the sun beams across the floor in ripples, because it isn’t even as strong as I am here. I expel my lungs as I stretch my legs, moving them like scissors, gently. Every gentle motion has so much power. The movements that bring me glances of pity above make me feel like Poseidon’s child here. I was made to use my body here.
I reach, grab, and pull, gently, and glide again. I turn my head (it doesn’t hurt!) and take in a desperate measure of air greedily. My torso turns as if it can just swivel freely. I look down below me, straightening my spine, and see the blue tiled “T” marking my distance. One. Two. Three, and a tuck, and my legs push me back the other way.
I want to stay here. I want to remain where there is no gravity to pull me against myself and bring the pain back. I dread later. I dread even ten minutes from now, because we all have to pay the piper…
The second lap is slower. I always start off too fast. It is always too long between these trips, or too long between seasons (it is never the same indoors). My body can move, but my lungs burn faster. I have to come up more.
Halfway through I have to stop.
My feet (they are tingling now…again) find the ground and my hands reach for the wall.
I fight on. Because I want to stay here.
Where it doesn’t hurt.
The sun beats down on me.
Reach. Grab. Pull.
And it isn’t just the water I grab for. It is time.
Tuck, push, kick.
Under here I am alone with my thoughts, with how good it feels.
But my lungs ache for that air, and my body is tired, and my neck strains now when I turn for that air.
As I grasp that wall I am crying.
I need help out.
I am too tired to stand.
I have to rest.
And all I can think about is the next time I can get back in.