Went to the pool today and when I got there was full of the Y kids. All of us, both the oldies and the championship swimmers, who share each lane on all the lap swims were ‘consternated.’ No one told us the kids would be there. Now we don’t mind, mind you, but we let the kids have the pool to themselves on their days because hey, there are 50 of them and they need every square foot of that indoor pool. Now none of this is actually spoken out loud but everyone just sort of knows what to do without being told. Like if there are two fast swimmers and two slow swimmers like pairs to like in the lanes without even asking.
Anyway we were all consternated. Some got out of the pool and left and some plowed through the kids games single mindedly, not giving a thought to the space the kids needed. Some waited until the kids left and some, like me, stayed off on the sidelines and did ‘edge exercises.’
I was minding my own business when the second batch of fifty kids came in and I saw her…actually I saw myself.
A girl, not a Y girl but a ‘why?’ girl, from among those fifty kids, went and sat at the far end of the bench, as far away from the crowd as she could get. No one noticed her. I watched myself as I detached myself from reality and went ‘somewhere else.’
In that ‘somewhere else’ I watched myself make movements that made no sense and did not fit the rest of the group and I watched as the other kids instinctively avoided me. It was odd to watch myself like this but then she WAS me for a moment.
She never smiled. Not once.
She let the world happen around her as if she was a rag doll and she stayed where ever it was she was and then she looked at me.
Our eyes met for a moment and I looked at myself and she looked at herself and she seemed to be a 1000 years old to the child she saw she would someday be. It was a profound moment. They told her it was time to get into the water and I watched myself walk away from me with the classic ‘pigeon toe’ I used to have to wear corrective shoes for. Then she was lost in the crowd of screaming kids and floaties.