The Pool

It is an onyx pit fluttering with the choppy crashes of ice cold hurt. Crisp currents forged from happenstance and happiness and past decisions and mistakes you can’t take back or atone for. For all its apparent fluidity, the pool is hard and dark and unforgiving and it will drag you into its eddies and maelstroms like a stranger with bad motives if you’re not careful. The sick thing about the pool is that it is always familiar. It was, after all, you who made the pool first splash. The water arrived the moment you first began to live. But you can never see the edges. The pool has no discernible dimensions. Land? An optical illusion as phony as time, but it does crop up every so often. You do your best to swim through the muck, to evade the stings of jellyfish, to dodge the barnacles that can pull you under the water. As the years pass and your limbs atrophy, it becomes less easy to negotiate the pool, although, as a French chemist once pointed out, chance favors the prepared mind. The swimmer becomes more invisible and less loved and can sink to the bottom if he is not careful. The opportunities to build a boat likewise dry up. Because too many people want to horde the wood found on sylvan archipelagos. What keeps you swimming in the pool is anything that remains of your energy and your vitality and your character, which sometimes translates into love and resilience and connection but not always. It’s often very lonely to swim. It really is. But you swim. Because it’s either that or drowning. The pool knows damn well that it was forged from all of your earlier wades and breaststrokes. It knows that there were friends and lovers who once swam with you, friends and lovers who now swim in their own pools. The pool knows that it’s luck that matters above choice. The pool taunts you at night with loud laughs from the waves and whirls. Eidolons. Spectres. But you swim. And you’re amazed that you’re still able to do so. Because there are some days in which you’re so close to drowning.

© 2020, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.

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