Today something clicked during my swim, and everything was measurably easier than even yesterday. I told myself I needed to practice often, and practice slowly enough, that I would come to feel entirely relaxed in the water. Today, I was a lot closer to that. A rolling motion with the shoulders, head only rotating during the breath. Kicking enough to stay up and moving but not so hard I am inordinately winded by the end of a length. No longer thinking about my inhale, no longer thinking about much at all. A brief rest in between lengths.
This kicks in about lap three. I pull up to the edge of the pool and tug my goggles up. “Did I beat you this time?” I ask Phoenix, who is splashing in next to me.
“No,” she says. Then wipes a hand over her face. “Well, yes.”
I silently dance a few body rolls, holding onto the edge. It feels good.
Then, to get the point home I say, “That’s my swim-taunt.”
“I know,” she says, gravely.
Swimming with Phoenix has been wonderful. I have already caught up to her so we are swimming peers. She catches her breath back more quickly than I, though.
Out of the pool and on the road to pick up Nels at the art gallery; then to guest-assist in a kindergarten class. I’m nearly faint from hunger after this last, but I have only a slim $23 for the day. I can afford to get my also-hungry kids a sandwich and soup to share, and pick up dinner supplies. That’s it.
The hunger keeps me a bit off my game. At self-checkout, a young man bags his own groceries, leaving his cart in the thoroughfare and seemingly entirely oblivious as we wait to pass. “Excuse me,” I say, and he jerks the cart out of the way. We walk past and I think, Where do I know him? A few beats later and I remember him as a two-time client (at least twice) at the treatment center; I remember his name, and I regret not greeting him. I can tell by his expression, his lack of eye contact, and his skin, that he is likely back on his drug of choice – and might feel lukewarm about a greeting. And already: the moment has passed. Like at least once or twice in my day – sometimes more – I get to silently say goodbye, and move on.
Music in the car. The kids are helpful; they know I’m hungry and tired. I am irritable and angry; earlier in the day I dealt with an institution I find incredibly challenging to negotiate with. I still have an emotional hangover from this experience; what’s more, it doesn’t feel like that mood is going to lift.
Patience, prayer, persistence, and practice. What else can I do?