The Fine Art of Full Body Swimming


I woke up shivering.  I took two blankets and wrapped them around my head and my waist.  I checked the thermostat.  It was warm in the apartment.  This was my routine every day for the past two weeks.  The further into winter and ski season it got, the colder I got.

I was getting colder and losing weight from staying up all night snow grooming sleeping a few hours then hitting the pool with Jeneva.  I grabbed some bread and threw it in the toaster pulling out some peanut butter.  It was my idea of a late breakfast and early lunch.

I chewed the toasted peanut butter bread slices adding a glass of orange juice and water to the mix.  The coffee maker sat unplugged by the sink.  Caffeine interfered with the shallow water breathing Jeneva said.  I thought not drinking it was keeping me from being warm.  I stared at the manila envelope on the counter.  I moved it to the table then back to the counter again as I had done every day for the last week.  It was from my ex.  It was thick and the return address was from an attorney’s office.  I pushed it aside and glanced out the window.  It was raining again.

A few winter rains had turned the powder conditions into slushy ice and snow mixtures, but the slopes were still busy.  The tubing park was open half days.  The cross country skiing was closed until conditions were better.  I had learned to snow walk as I dubbed it pounding through the snow from the doghouse to the next machine in line the walk so long I’d lose the feeling in my fingers only to have it return again when I’d pick up my instructions and then hike back out in the snow.

Except for me, Jeneva and the lifeguards most days no one else braved the snow to go to the pool.  I showered off in the locker room storing my stuff in locker #12 with a padlock Jeneva had given me.  I looked at the clock.  I was early or maybe she was late.

The pool deck had just been washed and swept the lifeguards nodding at me as I threw down my towel and headed for the diving boards.  They were whispering and listening to a talk show blasting from a TV in the office.

I stood on the lower dive and stared into the water.  The snow season ended in late March.  There was no work again till November.  I’d never pressed Jeneva to see what she did for the other seven months of the year.  She hadn’t mentioned what had happened with her father, but I knew she’d never forgiven me believing I was responsible somehow for what had happened.  It was the same with me.  I had no intention of forgiving my ex.

I took my breath and leapt from the diving board.  My body flew up my back arching my hands touching my feet then my head pierced the water first.

I did not have an urgent need to breath.  I held my breath waiting for the momentum to end the dive to finish.  I was an established practitioner of breath hold diving Jeneva had said.  I had never experienced problems.  I was a fit and strong swimmer.  I knew, though, it was Jeneva that had led me here and I had let her.




L.B. Sedlacek

LB Sedlacek has had poems and stories published in a variety of journals and zines. Some of her poetry books are Swim (Alien Buddha Press), I'm No ROBOT (Cyberwit), Happy Little Clouds (Guerilla Genesis Press), Simultaneous Submissions (Cyberwit), and Words and Bones (Finishing Line Press). Her first short story collection, Four Thieves of Vinegar & Other Short Stories came out on Leap Day 2020 from Alien Buddha Press. She also served as a Poetry Editor for ESC! Magazine and published the free resource for poets, "The Poetry Market Ezine," from 2001-2020. In her free time, LB likes to swim, read and attempt to play the ukulele. She recommends the Caldwell Humane Society.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Sunday, June 27, 2021 - 22:04