Sunday, October 05, 2014
She sags on one of the little square benches, her great folds of flesh spilling out of her suit. Shaking her head, she sighs mightily.
I plop my gym bag down on the locker room floor, letting my fins slide to the ground. “Ummm…..” I squat down, scanning the grey cement.
“My eyes are terrible,” she moans, “and I have to drive home…..”
Laughing softly, I commiserate, “Yeah, my eyes are bad too. Guess that’s one of the hazards of middle age.”
She smiles ruefully, sighing again as she starts to feel around on the floor for the lost contact.
“Is it clear?” I ask, scanning futilely. Why do they make the contacts so goddamn hard to see when they fall out as they always do? And the wearer is blind. Couldn’t they turn hot pink on hitting the ground? Or hell, phones are always playing cute little tunes. Why not a contact? It falls to the ground, and “I heard it through the Grapevine” could sound off.
Okay, I think, blue might be easier to see, but yet I can’t see anything except the ickee gray floor with bits of talcum powder residue, gum wrappers and other unidentified detritus that I don’t want to analyze too closely.
I carefully move some of my stuff aside, glancing under where my bag had been. She scooches her little bench back with an awful fingernails on the blackboard screech….
“AH!!!!” she exclaims, triumphant. “Here it is!” She holds it up. I still can’t see it.
“You gave me the Courage to Move,” she nods, grinning.
Beaming she gathers up her swim gear and heads to the pool and I think, Isn’t that what it’s all about? The Courage to Move? Without this fearlessness around exploring new terrain, we’d all be stuck in the same place. Afraid to venture out into the world, the unknown.
And we need someone else to help with this movement. Sure we can venture out alone. Courage to Move Woman may very well have found her contact without my stopping to help. But then again, maybe not. Maybe she would have just thrown in the towel. Shoved her swim gear back into her locker. Called a cab. Gone home and drowned her sorrows in soap opera and fast food.
Who knows? But I was glad I could help. It felt good to be of service. And that’s part of it too. Not being alone. It helps the helper too.
So, when I got out onto the pool deck and all the lanes were full, I see that Courage to Move Woman has beat me to the last available lane by the wall. Demoralized, I plop down on the deck, deciding to wait for an open lane instead of sharing.
“You are welcome to share the lane with me!” Courage to Move Woman calls out joyfully, encouraging.
Shaking my head, I decline. “Oh, that’s sweet of you. But that’s okay. You’re by the wall. It’s hard for two people.”
She grins, “It’s the worst lane!” Then floats off down the pool.
Sighing, I try to recapture my altruistic feel good mood from a few moments before.
“What happened?” Ian’s on deck now, clucking his tongue in full lane dismay.
“I dunno. It was empty a few minutes ago. I hope I don’t start crying…..”
“Just choose your victim,” he chuckles. And I know he’s right and so I do. I have the Courage to Move beyond the tears and the frustration.
Because of Ian? Because of the pool?
Sure, both. But actually, it’s because of the story. The Courage to Move. It’s all about the story. How it gives me purpose and drive and energy. Without my writing, I have no movement. I stagnate in the void of a narrative vacuum.
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