I watched the clock beat down to 4 o’clock, flicking my eyes from the computer and back again. Then it was there. The magic hour. I got my swim bag and made the costume change. I forgot my sandals. I headed to the Lake in my sunglasses, swimsuit, sundress, and shin socks with bright stars on them and steel-toed boots.
The water was warm. So warm and comforting, it was like a new skin of a perfect fit. Each arm entering felt surrounded in swirling silk and soft velvet. I swam without looking where I was going for a long time. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. I was in my favorite place – myself. Navigating the murky thoughts and feelings and setting them right.
Precalculus left me alone for those moments. The engineering degree plan and its accompanying stress slipped out the back door of my brain. The pressure of organizing my next swim class evaporated. Work was over.
I didn’t think about the memoir I am writing or the children’s books I seem to have collected in my brain that haven’t made themselves into words just yet. I am often in those works – leaving where I am in trade for memories and mores.
But for now, there was nothing to do or be done. There was only my friend, the water, and she was unspoiled by the sour taste of stress. All I thought about was gliding forward with the next stroke and feeling the summer silk swirling around me. I rested in the joy of this stroke and the hope of the next one.
Somewhere in the midst of that most perfect place, I began to realize that, for the first time over two years, I was not in any kind of pain. Nowhere. The consistent pain in my shoulder for years was gone. My back with its debilitating spasms was quiet. I was free. Oh, so free.
I was so happy, I didn’t even know I was crying.