I am in trouble even as I arrive at the beach. I know this because I do not see the Sunday morning families, children giggling and splashing, fun seeking Sunday pond dwellers. I see the slender forms of athletes, tri swim cap age group colors bunched. Young women talking thigh deep in water waiting for the signal they will give themselves to start.
There is an older man, yellow capped. He smiles at me and takes his plunge.
Now I, green cap, wade in knee in thigh I plunge. Cool water grey reflects green even at nine am the sky is not properly opened into morning. The cool greeting invites my arms to churn the speed of butter making, and before I am deciding anything I am racing pink and orange and no cap breast stroke easy prey. The yellow cap is far beyond. I watch it as my green cap comes to breathe. Far but not too far I think, so I make the yellow cap my line.
I race but part of me abhors the fact I race so I head a-w-a-y. Out. Out into the middle not along the shoreline where yellow cap goes bobbing. But as much as I want not to watch, I watch to see if I can make that line. That invisible line that drawn across the water connecting yellow and green.
I am lost to my morning leisure and the pleasure is in winning.
I swim on. Now I am almost at the other shore. Three pink caps bobbing. I am swimming over the hurdle of the deepest pond. Ninety feet of water weight below me drag my legs down as I climb the mountain to its summit. Pink caps chatter. I think as I swim toward them, “And I am drowning.” Then they start. “Oh great. I’m drowning and they swim in pink cap chat.” They start to swim with me so we are all swimming toward the shore. One beyond, one beside, one I am lost to, but I know she is there. I am railroaded, blocked on one side. There is all this pond and I cannot turn left to go to cove. I swim. When threatened, run. In water, swim. I swim. I swim pink cap speed. More than pink cap speed. I swim because I cannot do anything else and I am challenged to race. I think, “I do not want to race.”
Then I remember yellow cap.
And I laugh at myself.
And the struggle I am having with this thing called ego.