I held my breath and I kicked my legs and I moved my arms around

We drive home through a downpour, rain beating fiercely on the windshield. Each time we go under a bridge it’s like coming up for air, a gasp of silence before the assault resumes. Lightning cracks the nearby sky.

…and then, ever so slowly, it subsides. I think of Chopin’s Raindrop Prelude, which I have been playing again recently. Crashing octaves give way to gentler, still-persistent notes until the rain is gone and we’re driving through that silvery light that an afternoon thunderstorm precedes. Not much later, the sky is blue again, and we roll the windows down.

The next day, I wake up and swim a mile. It happens almost exactly like that—my mom asks if I’m coming, and even as I’m muttering “yes” in a sleep-drenched voice I’m pulling on the clothes I’d put out, grabbing my bag for work. Mist floats above the heated water of the pool when we arrive.

My hair carries the faint scent of chlorine like a secret.

(Unrelated: this poem made me forget how to breathe.)

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