the swimmer

December 14, 2009 § Leave a comment

She was alone, face up, her body just small enough to fit on the kickboard. Her knees were right at the edge of the board so that her ankles bobbed in and out of the water as though they weighed nothing. The sunlight shone with high velocity; the pool projected a rectangular shaft of light into the sky, which put a terrible white glare over my vision. Her face, though—it was the only thing that I could make out around me, as though she were standing right there in front of me. Her lips were stained orange, and the ends of her shoulders were just beginning to redden from the sun. I could see a sliver of darkness between her lips from which her breath crept in and out like a child in the night. She was wearing her father’s sunglasses that came down over her cheeks.

“What do you want?” She sat up, her torso swaying a little to catch her balance. She extended her arms behind her, which allowed her to arch her back.

I caught my breath. Then she pulled her shades up off of her face, the lenses combing her hair back. She had an abnormally large forehead. And then I noticed two pink half-moons on her cheeks from where the glasses had been resting.

“My feet are burning up.” I confessed. My bare feet flinched against burning cement poolside. When I saw her from my bedroom window, I went running and left my shoes at the front door.

“I see,” she said, her hands wandering down her shins and then to the arches of her feet. “Well I suggest you don’t just stand there, then. There isn’t anything to look at from there.” And then she was gone—slipped into the water, her figure just a flicker of pink flesh in the blue.


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