Tuesday, May 07, 2002

Deep Dive in a Blue Martini

Drowning my sorrows at the pool today. Not drinking actually — just lapping up the laps wearing my speedo suit, speedo blue goggles with blue lenses, everything is very bright blue. I was absolutely chipper when I came out.

I'm always the voyeur, and the goggles let me watch the underside of the water, swimmers' funny limbs dangling in a non-gravity underwater limbo.

I fell madly in love with the guy in the next lane. Big baggy swimming pants — honestly, how many American men can do themselves a favor by wearing one of those very tiny black nylon Speedos, not many — so the guy made the right choice. He was cool.

I loved him instantly because he was a big splasher. A very hungry swimmer. Swimming something out or just trying to get over something. We would cross mid-lane going the opposite directions. I'm careful not to give him an inadvertent swift kick. I'm slinking along the bottom like an eel, following the black tile stripe with my purpley-pink-painted fingernails, they look like ten little fish going to school, trying to see how long I can stay under before I need to surface and gasp. The pool wall, just under the water at the end, where he does a tuck and turn, has a black tile cross to touch your toes against and then spring forth. The pool, if you look through my goggles, in fact, is filled with cruxifices. I go down to the river to pray. I am washed clean.

Lately, as I get over my father's death, I'll have just perfectly fine days, but then suddenly, I'll be swept away in tears for the most pedestrian reasons. It's a bit like weather. In the morning, the coast looks clear and I plan to go about my day, but sometimes, even by 11:00am, they'll need to post the small craft warnings. The sea is getting choppy and I'm not finding my sea legs. I don't have a mom or dad anymore — the people who thought whatever I did was always good.

I wish I could take a break from feelings sometimes, but the flood of tears comes and flows down each side of my head, like bonnet strings, dampening each cheek, two rivulets of rain racing one another down to the sea. They meet under my chin in a wet place.

Later, I'm wondering if everyone else gets so absorbed in the sensual and emotional aspects of the world. I would like to get back to a hard-hearted Halley, but I don't know if there really is one. I remember the first time I read the French writer Colette and thought, "Oh, my God, she writes the way I FEEL. That's exactly how I see, feel, taste, smell, experience life, with enormous sensuality, just like her." No wonder I get so tired just living in this world.

I wonder what it would be like to turn it off for a while. Maybe it would sound like ... (see above.)