Tonight, after walking back from the gym, Logan and I passed our apartment swimming pool and decided to go for a late night swim.
The sky above was inky black, dappled with charcoal clouds billowing up from Hurricane Gustav. The air was breezy and hinted of autumn. It was the first cool night since the Dallas summer began months and months ago. Logan stood on the first step, looking like the little boy with the red cap from Seurat’s painting, his back pitching slightly forward at the waist.
“It’s cold,” he said, before disappearing into the water.
The breeze rippled over my body and the water rippled over my ankles. I dove in. My world was suddenly, sharply cold, then my head popped above water and I realized that it felt perfect. After all the days of stepping outside into wilting heat, this was the first time in months that I had been refreshed from the outdoors.
The pool was lit from the bottom, so the water was luminescent, clear, and yet its lines were teal where they had color.
Putting on the goggles, I let myself sink to the bottom, watching my bubbles take their long journey to the top, seeing the water turn from clear to white to teal to the blackness of the sky. I did a flip, willing my eyes to stay open so that I could see the black sky, the pool spilling out in every direction, the grated floor as it skimmed my nose.
I started swimming laps, trying to remember all the different strokes I had been taught in swimming lessons as a child. Scoop up the ice cream, put it in your mouth, kick like a frog. I swam leisurely, feeling the silkiness of the water as it slid through my fingers, smelling the brine of the chlorine, stopping every few minutes to look at the sky again. I was infatuated. The blackness, the gray clouds, the stars. Everything seemed beautiful to me tonight.
After awhile, I nestled myself into a corner, letting my legs and lower back float in front of me, enjoying the night.
Logan was leaping up and down, across the length of the pool, looking like an astronaut on the surface of the moon. “I like swimming,” he said. “I want to fly and this is the closest I’ll ever get to flying. Unless they make space travel viable for consumer use within my lifetime.”
I like my husband because he says things like that in normal conversation and he’s for real.
He ran up the steps, looking like he was in slow motion because of the resistance of the water, and did a flip backwards. “See, just like if I could fly,” he said.
The water was beautiful, thick and luminous, like amniotic fluid. Around my head the wind blew. I felt the pulse of Logan’s far-off splash through the water. Raising my fingers up through the surface, the water looked like it was flowing through them, a current that I couldn’t feel, charged with energy. I felt connected to it all. To the water, stretching not only across the pool, but into the gutters and puddled by the trees in the lawn. To my husband, yards away, deeply in awe himself. To the sky, a dense protective shield above.
Every once in awhile I have an experience that is so full of joy and meaning, but is so simple and mundane, that I’m unable to fully comprehend what has happened. I like to think that for all the evils that take place in the world, there are good things to compete with them, to win out in the end. Although it was small, I think this night swim was one of those good things.