Blue bathing suit

My wife and daughter swim every day. People who swim every day have several bathing suits. Many bathing suits, even expensive ones, fall apart like kleenex if you swim in them all of the time. If you wash your bathing suits, they fall apart even faster. And if you dry them in a machine you don’t do yourself any favors. So if your wife and daughter swim every day, the entryway to your house might have a lot of bathing suits dangling from chairs or tossed over UPS boxes. And you might be familiar with special routines like welcoming your family home, carrying in the school backpacks, putting away the new groceries, and then deconstructing the swimming bag.  Bathing suits don’t easily reveal their defects. You don’t know that the blue Lands End bathing suit is falling apart until you are in the pool’s locker room. Barefoot on the tile floor. Looking over the sink into those big mirrors reflecting the gray walls, the yellow lockers, your wet hair, your pale skin. And then you notice some fabric bunching, some elastic stretching, some small obscenity that you worry may be noticed. But by whom? You pad out to the pool deck on the balls of your feet. Your community is here. A husband is connected to his wife by long earbud wires. They conclude their workout dancing to swing music in the shallow end. The daily inspirational quote on the whiteboard has three misspelled words. Who is counting? Who is clapping? A coach encourages the seasnakes into the water. Some of the five year olds are already submerged with kicking splashes.  My wife swims slow laps. My daughter is submerging and surfacing. They kick across the university pool. The sun fires the surface. The winds are pounding at the windows. Wet clumps of snow slide down the sunroof. The lifeguard has blown the whistle and called everyone out of the water because of the threat of a thunderstorm that is miles away. Miles from the thirty-odd swimmers called out of the blue that they know like no one else.

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