I’ve begun swimming again for exercise, for mental health. It’s hard to go when it’s cold outside. I hate the undressing, dressing, drying the hair, bundling up in a coat, stepping out into the parking lot. But I do like to move through water, feel my heart beating, hear the muffled pool noises, see the tiled blue line at the bottom of the pool, the iron rod of lane swimmers. I swim a mile: sixteen laps in a 50-meter pool.
I am still alive, I think. I am alive.
My bathing suit is an old black Speedo that is too big now and is pulling apart at the side seams. It’s the end of October, and I need a new bathing suit. I went shopping for one last week, and there were no swimsuits to be found. Winter coats had replaced them. So I went online to Lands End and looked through the dozens of suits they offer, all of them on sale now. I picked out a modest one-piece black and white number with a number 2-leg. I figure if you need a ruffle around the bottom of your swimming suit, you probably ought not to be wearing a swimming suit. Who is fooled by that ruffle?
The suit arrived today. It wasn’t quite what the online photo showed. It was black and white and GOLD. It was a modest gold line running through the pattern, but I don’t like gold threads running through my swimming suits. It smacks of tom-foolery, of Las Vegas costume. I’m sixty-seven. I’m no showgirl. Who is fooled by a gold thread?
I liked the rise of the number-2 leg. I liked the way it fit my behind.
I did not like the cleavage. I don’t like cleavage, period. Cleavage is pressed fat. Old women should not show cleavage. I tried pulling the suit up, but that didn’t work. The disgusting cleavage was still there.
I put the suit back in the box. I will return it. Actually, Tom will return it. There is something in my DNA that says “no return policy.”
Tonight, I looked up “Speedo for women” online. I want the “ultraback conservative" suit. It’s high in the front with the back cross straps. It’s a suit for serious swimmers. Thank you, Speedo.
Why didn’t I think to go there in the first place?
When I got out of the pool today, someone had taken my towel, and I had to dry myself with paper towels.