Swimming For Your Life
There are times when terrible, cataclysmic things happen, and you grip the walls, demanding an answer on how the walls could look on and not intervene.
When you want to run into the garden and grab the weeping willows and yank them all the way to the ground, hissing at them that they were already most of the way there, when they dare ask what that was for.
When you can almost taste yourself hurling your water glass through the window just to see the shards break the splash into beads, the droplets a crystalline mess.
When you hold your bottom teeth in line with your top teeth the way your mom did when she was far away, and you do it now to keep the flat mouse of your heart in.
When you cry into the backs of your hands instead of the front, because you need to keep buttering your toast and you were in the middle of making it when you got the news, and you have a call starting in two minutes so if you cry into your palms they’ll be wet and you’ve calculated that you don’t have time to put down the butter knife, finish crying, dry your hands, butter the toast, put away the butter, and walk back downstairs in the next 120 seconds.
When you announce to your dad that on the basis of this new loss you’ve adjusted human life expectancy to 50 years, and you now consider anything after that to be a bonus. And you tell him that you’re going to call the actuaries to let them know and he says “Okay, they’ll be happy to hear from you”, and you say “I know they will be, because I’m not wrong”, and you talk like this because you can and because you’re worried that if you stop, you too (two) might die.
When they finally come and hand you a social crime ticket and you unfold it to read that you’ve been charged with “All you talk about is death!” Or maybe they don’t, but what if they do one day? Because earlier, when you were watching the Olympic wrestling, you opened your mouth and out came “Ok so he’s going to wrestle in his outfit and maybe win a medal but he’s going to die one day, so what’s the point?” But then you realize the men’s 200 metre swimming didn’t make you feel that way, so is swimming the meaning of life?
When someone who has never had to face the noninterventionist walls, the 3/4 length willows, the broken splash, the flat mouse, the toast, and the inaccurate actuaries, tells you the meaning of life.