I love swimming. I love the feel of gliding through the water. I love reaching my hand as far as I can for the most distance. I have a strong kick and an even stronger paddle. I focus on the stroke and the axis of my body. I feel as though I am on another planet. I imagine that I’m flying. My body is an engine fueled by my imagination.
I imagine that I’m the world’s best swimmer. The fastest swimmer. That, at any moment, the life guard will be waiting at the end of my lane to tap me on the shoulder and say, “We’ve never seen anything like you before. We’d like you to join our swim team.” I’d look up at the observation deck to see veteran swimmers nodding and jotting down notes about me on their clipboards. I’d also look to the side of the pool to find a professional coach clocking me with a stopwatch. There’d be another coach next to him holding a stopwatch of his own to confirm what the other coach has just witnessed. The lifeguard would say, “Please step out of the pool and come with us. We’re going to need you to sign some super secret papers to protect you from the government, because with your abilities, they’re going to try and take you from us.”
I continue swimming and somehow I’ve never realized that I have an ability to be underwater for so long. Can everyone hold their breath this long and be this agile underwater? Why haven’t I noticed before that I can do this? Now my body’s moving like that of a dolphin. What the hell is going on? I think, “I’ll just keep this secret to myself and come up for air more often so I don’t raise any suspicion. I’ll keep this super power to myself.”
A ball invades my lane and interrupts my magnificent abilities. I stop because I’ve breathed in water and have to cough it up. I look to see what’s happened but my goggles are foggy. I remove them and with them, my swim cap. Great.
WHO DISTURBS POSEIDON?!
A 7-year-old, standing by the side of the pool, disturbs Poseidon. A thin, pasty skinned kid with lemon yellow, loose fitting stretch shorts, disturbs Poseidon. I squint to see him better. His swim cap is bright orange, his goggles are lime green and someone has managed to tie a purple noodle around his torso to keep him afloat in case he falls in. I never thought, if anyone could bring the water god to his knees, that it would be this kid. But there he is in full regalia, my arch nemesis. I see before me now, the antithesis to everything I am. My exact opposite. The bane of my existence. I now know exactly how Batman felt the first time he met the Joker. I am stunned by this yellow, green, orange, purple, pale, thin-bodied, little boy and he’s looking right at me.
With a smile only the blissfully ignorant can have, he yells, “Throw me the ball!”
I do him one better and hit it in his direction. The ball is lighter than I thought and it curves through the air. He squeals with delight and chases after it with both arms fully extended, his chin high in the air.
I continue swimming.
Two laps later, the ball is back in my lane. It’s that kid again. He thinks I’m playing with him. Or does he? What if he’s doing this on purpose? What if he’s doing this to torture me. What if he knows, too, that I’m his arch nemesis? Maybe he hates me for my swimming abilities because he can’t swim due to some psychological trauma he endured as a baby and he needs to put a stop to my perfect swimming no matter the cost. But he won’t kill me. No, he can’t kill me because I’m just too much fun. We must fight each other in an eternal struggle. This is what happens when an immoveable object meets an unstoppable force.
I use my special powers to hit the ball away. He once again gives chase and I make my escape. I hit the showers and grab a schedule on the way out. Next time “family swim” & “lap swim” are scheduled together, I will be prepared. I know I’ll see him again, but next time, it’ll be on my terms.