I live in the country. In the hot summer months, while there are not lot of municipal swimming pools, there are countless swimming holes if you have the time and the patience to go exploring a bit. My husband loves the water and he rarely misses an opportunity to go for a swim. Our dog is an active and enthusiastic participant in every venture.
While they go in the water on an almost-daily basis, I rarely take a dip. Instead, although I am an excellent swimmer, I usually scavenge along the beach or just sit and watch as they frolic and splash in the water nearby. I have many excuses, ranging from, ‘I don’t want to ruin my hair’ to ‘I don’t like not being able to see what is under me in the murky lake/ocean/brook water’. Truth be told though, what really bothers me is the image of my fifty-plus body in my slightly-outdated (and – let’s be honest – rather snug) bathing suit. My husband finds the latter excuse ridiculous and annoying: somehow, whatever I see in the mirror has been distorted in his eyes: from the look on his face when I don my swim suit, he appears to think that he married a goddess.
He was therefore delighted when on a particularly hot and stifling day last summer, I was the one to suggest going for a swim at our favourite swimming hole, which consists of a series of waterfalls and deep pools nestled in fragrant, cool woods about forty minutes from our home. We arrived, hot and sticky, only to discover that the place was alive with good-natured splashing and hoots of laughter from perhaps a dozen people who had all had the same idea as we did.
That ended the adventure for me. “I’m not going in,” I announced with finality, before even getting out of the car. After a prolonged and mutually-frustrated argument, my husband finally convinced me to at least approach the swimming hole. Eyebrows furrowed, I carefully made my way down the path to the water.
And that is when I saw her: perhaps 15 years old, a little on the heavy side, she was swimming and splashing with a happy, noisy group of girls. Unlike her friends though, she was not wearing a cute little bikini. She was wearing a baggy, over-sized T-shirt over equally baggy shorts. Although she never even noticed that I was there, I recognized a kindred spirit and my heart went out to her.
Without another word of disagreement, I pulled off my own baggy T-shirt to reveal my slightly-snug and outdated bathing suit, and waded in to join the others…
Patti Moore Wilson /© wednesdayschildca.wordpress.com