The Black Adonis
“Are you a swimmer?”
Penelope had been watching him from her hospital bed, her post anesthesia drug haze providing a questioning filter. Yet, she was almost certain. It was he. The Black Adonis. From Mills College pool.
He would sit under a big tarp, in his black Speedo (yes, he could pull it off; most guys, esp. at Mills where Pasty Academics reigned, were better off in the floppy Hawaiian print shorts)
But the Black Adonis, for this is what he was, well.... much swooning took place at the pool for all the non-Lesbians.
Under his tarp, in his black Speedo, he’d be reading. Penelope was never sure what. She imagined it must be Homer or Melville or......something Big and Bold and Manly.
For he was a Manly Man.
He’s a nurse?
What kinda of Manly Man is a nurse?
A real Manly Man, that’s who.
When she’d come back from recovery, he’d been there, donned in his green nurse fatigues, helping to lift her from the recovery bed to her hospital one, his hands strong and gentle, his voice soothing and calming. “That’s right. Easy does it. You’re okay....”
And Penelope had allowed herself to be lifted, the pain dulled from the meds, thinking, Is this the Swimmer from Mills that she knew?
Yet at this point, she’d been too out of it to ask. So when he came back in to take her blood pressure (it was so low! perhaps the only benefit from surgery), she’d asked him, “Do you swim?”
He’d smiled, shyly, “I swim at the Berkeley Y.”
Penelope thought about this for a moment, “Yeah, maybe I’ve seen you there. (She sometimes braved this Y when all else failed. It was way too cold and cranky for her though.) “But did you used to swim at Mills?”
He removed the cuff from her arm, “Yeah, I used to.”
“Me too,” Penelope had laughed softly. “If you can believe it now!”
He grinned, “Sure, sure, I remember,” he chuckled. “We all look a little different out of our swimwear.”
You can say that again! Penelope thought, imagining him in the Speedo under the tarp reading Homer.
She’d never really spoken to him during all the time she swam at Mills. She did remember one time when he’d come over to join the pow-wow at the Hot Tub. Penelope didn’t recall what he’d said. In fact she doubted that she’d remember anything he said.
It was a work of art. Tall, muscular, strong. Many swimmers, even those in ‘shape’ had imperfections.
But not the Black Adonis.
He was a God and that day at the Hot Tub, Penelope probably just stared.
She was prone to that when presented with a fine specimen.
So, today after her surgery, when the Black Adonis had lifted her out of her bed, she’d thought, Hell, maybe my stay in the hospital isn’t gonna be so bad after all.
And it hadn’t. Thanks to The Black Adonis.
And her sister, Laura, whom Penelope never will ever be able to repay.
They’d gone for one last swim the day before her surgery, like a ‘Last Meal’ before the execution was how it had felt. But her sister had been happy for a swim. So this day after, the day when the surgery was over and they were still in limbo over the results, (not to worry now--the Path Report came in a few days later--all was benign--whew!)Penelope lying in bed, a haze of drugs swirling around her consciousness, the previous day's swim seemed like a dream.
Later that evening, sis had gone home, exhausted from the day of waiting and reading. Dashingly Handsome BF had stayed late; they were watching Animal Planet’s show about the Tortoises of Australia. TBA had come in for the last BP check and had stayed for a moment to watch a giant tortoise, swimming in the blue green waters off the Great Barrier Reef.
“Swimming!” Penelope had pointed, giggling, the lasted batch of pain meds working oh so well.
He had nodded, serious and thoughtful, taking a moment from what must a horrendous job, going around to all of the post surgery patients and taking their vitals every 15 minutes.
“They are beautiful,” he murmured, watching the tortoises swim effortlessly through the murky greenish blue.
“Yes, they are,” Penelope had agreed, thinking how lucky she had been to survive her surgery. To have DHBF here at her side and her sister with her and, yes, The Black Adonis, sharing an Animal Planet Moment.
Maybe getting your gallbladder out wasn’t so bad after all.
Esp. if you find yourself, oh so thankfully, in the hands of an experienced swimmer.