My arms sliced through the water as if no time at all had passed since my last swim. My eyes squenched fiercely against the chlorine, as I had neglected to bring goggles along on this impromptu trip to paradise (also known as my husband’s place of business). As a result, I had to awkwardly lift up my head every few strokes to make sure I neither crashed into the wall nor swam in circles.
Knowing I didn’t have anything better to do today, Mike invited me to hang out by the pool at the school campus where he works. Classes hadn’t started yet, and I’d have the whole place to myself. He said it’d make having to work on a Sunday much more palatable, knowing I was there.
At first I waffled. I have so much to do…so many jobs to weed through on the internet, so much writing to get done…
I lifted myself out of the glittering pool, refreshed by the coolness of the water, a staunch contrast against the blistering heat. My legs only jiggled a little, and I ignored how I must have looked and concentrated on the tingling of my muscles, a live wire running through my limbs. It’s not like anyone was there to see me, a young-but-not-really, out of work, out of shape woman with an invisible bought of depression.
Plopping down on one of the chairs in the shade, I picked up the book I’d set face-down on the table, a Japanese metaphysical novel that turned out to be much better than it sounded. Throughout the day, I’d alternated between disappearing into the story and jumping in the pool for ten or so laps to both cool off and move around. I didn’t often give myself permission to do nothing but read.
Before opening the book, I looked across the pool, flanked by a handful of wavering palm trees and overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The water glowed in the haze of the late afternoon Los Angeles sun. What a difference from my shrunken world in the house, hovering by the computer all day, hoping to find an undiscovered scrap of employment that didn’t sound boring enough to induce a coma.
That was the problem with job searching. All of the jobs sounded terribly boring. It’s hard to display the proper enthusiasm for prospective employers when terribly bored.
Writing had been difficult lately, too, as everything that poured out of me tended to gray out, fuzzy and ill-formed. I would sit at the computer, and everything I wrote sounded like Eeyore bemoaning the rain.
I closed my eyes to the rapidly setting sun, grateful for the day, grateful for a break. It was gratifying to see I could still swim so gracefully.
It was more gratifying to see a crack in the gloom.
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