The Swimming Lesson

19 Jul

The water is my friend. The water is my friend. The water is my. . .(Sigh).  I scurried away from the pool’s edge. No amount of chanting could convince me that the chlorine-laced water wasn’t waiting to swallow me into its depths.

Anxiety was heightened by the leftover liquor lingering in my veins. Who on Earth decides to enroll in a Saturday morning swimming class? Oh yea. . .me.

As I signed up for the class and forked over the enrollment fee two weeks ago, the time seemed ideal. Saturdays have always been my errand days, the day reserved for running around nabbing things and seeing people that I couldn’t find time for during the week. An hour of swimming fit perfectly in the day of backburner chores and errands.

But after partying Friday night away, I woke up that Saturday with a particularly throbbing hangover. I sweat some of it off (trust me, it works) racing to the neighboring train station and was huffing and puffing by the time I had entered the Y, threw on my swimsuit and jogged onto the pool deck.

Yet I couldn’t do it. I simply couldn’t climb in. Memories of nearly drowning years before at Hurricane Harbor haunted my mind.

My no-swimming butt had ingenuously climbed into a floatee with my cousin on the “Lazy River.” Everything was fine and dandy until she suddenly climbed out and left me alone to balance the two-seater float. Gravity hit and into the water I tumbled, screaming and flailing dramatically. It sounds funny now and probably was hilarious to bystanders, but back then, as I plunged into the water, I literally thought I was going to die. Just thinking about it made me tremble that Saturday morning as I swept my hand across my face, further smudging remnants of last night’s makeup.

Sure, my parents had enrolled my sister and I in classes when we were kids. I remember hesitantly climbing into the pool, my hair tucked into a swimming cap, being absolutely terrified that some rebellious drop would infiltrate the cap and ruin my straightened tresses. Water on hair meant it had to be washed, which meant donning a head of unruly naps until the next visit to the salon.

The mere thought of my mother combing through the treacherous tangles made me squirm. I couldn’t even master floating. Lying on my back, I was convinced I would sink as soon as the trainer’s hand let go and be doomed to another episode of tender-headed hell.

A couple of things have changed since then. For one, I no longer worry about the evil water turning my hair unruly.

And. . .I now stand a full four inches above the deepest part of the pool. If all else fails, I can always stand up.  And try again.

Some may not wonder, “Why now?” After living 23 years of life without being in touch with my aquatic side, why try now? I say, why not? Well, it’s one more thing I can check off my list. One more thing I can say I’ve learned how to do. Plus, I love the beach  way too much  not to be able to hit a stroke or two.

I would love to say that as soon as I conquered my fear of the pool, I instantly became a great swimmer. Ha! Not exactly: I am still the “special student” of my adult beginner class. I must come in before and leave after most of my fellow classmates just to keep up.

But staring up at the ceiling floating on my back above the water or weaving down the lane makes it all worthwhile.


2 Responses to “The Swimming Lesson”

  1. The Nile Valley Griot July 22, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

    Hmm?? I bet you will end up swimming like a fish 🙂


  2. lcooksmarketer1 July 23, 2011 at 6:52 am #

    That’s the goal. LOL. Thanks.


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