A Place I Remember

I walk the length of the diving board. I jump onto the end, the board flexes and throws me into the air. I do a somersault and then try to stab the water quick and silent with my fingertips.

I’m in high school and I’m a diver on the swim team. I wasn’t gifted but I was good enough that my dives took me straight to the bottom of the pool.

Diving Board

It was there I had the feeling. It was the deepest part of the pool, cement painted blue with a black drain in the center. I waited for a moment before I pushed off the floor then burst out of the water and into the sound of the swimming hall.

I thought about that moment until it was my turn to dive again. I jumped, I left the board, touched the water and went to the bottom. My breath was held in and I listened to the quiet. I didn’t want to emerge back into that clamorous room and see the marks they’d give me for my dive.

I dove twice more and each time I’d linger longer below the surface. A teammate told me they began to wonder if I was okay and if someone should jump in to fish me out. But I stayed down there because I liked it.

My mind was still. I didn’t have to move. I didn’t even have to breath. I was held steady in the water’s soft grasp. I knew I would have to come back to the world again, but for a while my mind and body were in perfect peace. Even now, almost 40 years later, when life gets in my way, I think about being at the bottom of the pool.

 

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