This week’s post comes to us from Cathy MacKenzie, who writes mainly short stories and poems. The theme for this month is “water.” Cathy hopes you enjoy her story!
Cathy’s new book, compiling 18 of her best and most recent short stories, titled Between These Pages, is now out on Amazon.
Print version is $10:
E-book is $2.99:
Check out Cathy’s blog at: http://writingwicket.wordpress.com/
I dip my manicured toes into the heated pool. Cold, even though the temperature of the water is set at eighty degrees. Despite being summer, there’s a brisk breeze.
I have one month left.
My daughter’s wedding is five weeks away. I’ve let myself go the past several months, and I’m determined to get in shape before her big day.
I’ve had too much wine. I don’t need anyone—not that “anyone” is here with me—to remind me of that, but I must finish those last twenty laps. Just twenty more. That will bring me up to my goal of eighty laps per day. Granted, this goal was just penned yesterday, but I’m determined to follow through for the next thirty-five days. Surely if I do, I’ll become more youthful.
Last summer, I looked younger than my sixty-six years. Every day I completed those eighty laps, and, by mid-summer, I was content with my looks. I felt so good about myself, I almost began an affair. Almost.
No, I really wouldn’t. I’m happily married. Aren’t I?
The two-hundred-dollar-plus price tag on the gorgeous mother-of-the-bride gown I purchased two months ago glares at me. The dress was tight then. I haven’t tried it on again, since I hadn’t made any motions of trying to lose weight—no, not weight, inches; I need to lose inches, not pounds. I guess that’s what happens as you age—you accumulate excess bulge around your middle. I haven’t gained pounds, just inches, and I need to tone up and lose that surplus. I’ve heard that muscle weighs more than fat, which would explain the contradiction—my muscle has simply converted to fat.
When the water hits my waist, I want to retreat, but once I immerse myself, it will only be a second—just one mere second—until the warmth blankets me. The water is warm, I have to keep reminding myself. It’s the air that’s cool. Once I’m fully wet, I’ll be cozy, similar to crawling into bed and being cocooned by the heat of an electric blanket.
I grab the yellow noodle, position it under my large breasts and wrap my arms around it, before collapsing to the water. The cold is a shock—but only for that second—and then I’m warm. Lately, I haven’t wasted time entering the pool. Instead, I’ve been jumping right in and getting that second of cold over with quickly.
Time is precious.
With the noodle safely under my arms, I breast-stoke up and down the pool. Water changes one’s profile, and I morph into svelteness. My muscles are working. The batwings diminish and my legs tone. I’ll soon be fit. I know I will.
I keep at it. Up. Down. And back again. Each swim across the length is one lap. Just twenty. I completed the other sixty earlier today.
I feel lightheaded. Is it the wine? I shouldn’t have consumed that last glass. Perhaps I’m an alcoholic after all. Alcoholism runs in my family, so much so that one of my brothers won’t touch alcohol for fear of becoming our late father or grandfather. But I’m a woman. None of the deceased women in my family were alcoholics. Only the men.
The noodle buoys me. Can I swim without it? Hubby says my workout will make me stronger and fitter without it. I’m an excellent swimmer, and I don’t really need it. It’s just soothing grasping something when I’m alone in the water, like a lonely person hugging one’s pillow at night.
I let go. And continue swimming. The noodle floats away. I paddle after it. The wind comes up and propels it faster—and farther. Just another couple of moves, and I’ll soon catch it.
My feet touch water. I’m in the shallow end, right? But why is water covering my head if I’m in the shallow end? When did I sink? Where’s my noodle? I look up to see that skinny water log of foam floating aimlessly like a lily pad. I stretch for it.
Just a tad out of my reach.
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