18 Aug

It’s not that cold, I promise, he says, come with me.  OK, I will.  I get changed, grab a towel and slither down the steep shingle beach to the water’s edge.  I slip off my shoes and pick my way carefully over the smooth, hard pebbles, the soft soles of my feet complaining and the damp sand squelching between my toes.

The foamy little waves at the water’s edge wash over my feet.  He’s wrong.  It is cold, not arctic, but still cold.  But I’m here now, the sun is hot on my back, and he takes my hand.  Together we wade deeper, slipping on the pebbles and shivering as the water reaches our first our knees and then our thighs.

You know the best thing to do, don’t you, he says as he ducks down and starts swimming towards the horizon.  But I can’t bring myself to swim.  Not just yet.  I let the waves wash over my legs, gasping as they creep ever higher, splashing on warm, dry skin.

He’s bobbing about in the swell a few metres in front of me.  Come on, it’s better once you start swimming, come with me.  I take a deep, ozoney breath and wade into the chilly water, until it reaches my shoulders.  He’s right, it’s not so bad once you get in.  The bottom is pebble free now, a mix of sand and the soft, velvety clay that oozes between your toes and makes the water murky.

I swim a little way out and find a warmer patch, where I stop, with the tips of my toes just touching the bottom.  All around me are lengths of floating, brown, seaweed.  I catch some and pop the rubbery bubbles.  The water isn’t gaspingly cold, it isn’t even goosebumpy cold.  It’s just cold enought to make my skin tingle and wake me up.  I understand why people do this every day.  Why it’s addictive.  The sun is dazzling, scattering the water with sparkly diamonds. The sky is a vivid, clear, blue.  The roar of the water and screech of soaring seagulls are the only sounds.

The children are otherwise entertained and we are the only swimmers.  The only people.  We tread water in companionable silence, jumping up as waves hit our backs.  For a few perfect moments, we could be alone in the world.  He turns to me and says, the next time we do this, we’ll be in Hawaii.


This post was written for the fab writing workshop at Sleep is for the Weak.  The prompt I chose this week is ‘Lucky‘.


15 Responses to “Swimming”

  1. Paula 18/08/2010 at 6:10 pm #

    I’ve already pledged, on your recommendation, to swim in Scotland – and now you’re torturing me with tales of Hawaiian swims to come? It feels so close now, unbelievably so….you really are very lucky (and very deserving).


    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 18/08/2010 at 6:22 pm #

      Jeez, Scotland will be cold. Mind you, I’m sure Steve will swim in North Yorks, but then he’s mad.

      It really is really close. In a week and a bit it’s September, then it’ll be one month and something. I’m actually starting to think it might be really happening.

  2. HannahFergesen 18/08/2010 at 6:20 pm #

    This is lovely. : )

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 18/08/2010 at 7:12 pm #

      Thank you.

  3. christinemosler 18/08/2010 at 6:23 pm #

    Lovely piece! I love swimming in the sea and wade in whenever I get the chance. OH and I paddled together last week but it’s been a long time since we had a child free swim. Very lucky!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 18/08/2010 at 6:29 pm #

      It was bliss. In laws were doing something with the children in the house and we sneaked off. I swam properly another time, but the four year old remained at the water’s edge crying “come back Mummy, don’t swim away”. Not quite so relaxing.

  4. Gappy 18/08/2010 at 10:10 pm #

    Oh the post about swimming! What a lovely private moment you describe – and imagine doing that in Hawaii! I’ll bet you do feel lucky. x

  5. Above Ground Pools 19/08/2010 at 6:03 am #

    hi…very touchy…i just wanna tell you that when you go to Hawaii don’t let him go alone to swim,I wish Hawaii will be your one of the most memorable moments in life…

  6. Another Goldfish 19/08/2010 at 11:24 am #

    I think you’re braver that I would be. As soon as I realised how cold the water was I doubt I’d have done more than wade. It does sound like a wonderful day. I can’t wait to read about your trip.

  7. Nic's Notebook 19/08/2010 at 12:25 pm #

    Ooooh I know that feeling of wanting to go under but just not being able to just yet!! And Hawaii…. bet you can’t wait!:)

  8. Sarah 19/08/2010 at 11:46 pm #

    Fabulous, I so know that feeling – the waters around Wellington are just the kind of cold you describe so brilliantly. All the best for Hawaii!!! Woweeeee!

  9. andthenallithoughtaboutwasyou 20/08/2010 at 12:00 am #

    Oh what a lovely post, and so jealous Hawaii lovely. xx

  10. Emma-Louise Harries 22/08/2010 at 7:49 pm #

    What a lovely post! I hope you have a fabulous time xx

  11. If I Could Escape . . . 23/08/2010 at 11:43 pm #

    Oh, what a lovely post. Would love to go to Hawaii one day. x

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