I got water up my nose today. It stung right up into my tear ducts. And as much as it hurt I couldn't help but think back to swimming lessons when I was younger. I think someone is siphoning chlorine into my shower head.
Summer mornings have never been so cold. The brick shack that they called a locker room was a room, sans lockers. A more appropriate name is "basket shack". Because that's what you were handed, a rusty basket, for all of your belongings. I don't recall there ever being any light in there. Maybe there was, but coming from a sunny morning into a dark dank little room, retinas screaming, it was hard to tell. So you throw your towel, your shorts & flip-flops in the basket to keep safe, dry, and rusty, and hand it to the teenager with the whistle on other side of the seafoam green cement counter.
Walking from the basket shack to the pool could have been the worst feeling ever. Sure, it only took a few large, carefully calculated steps to the shallow end (trust me, I know), but already having texture issues as a 6 year old, the thought of everyone's feet on the same wet, gritty, ground as mine skeezed me out to no extent.
It was always bobs first accompanied by the classic myth that they told all shaking, blue-lipped kindergartners at the break of dawn, "It's not that cold. Just stick your head under & you'll warm up."
Lies. All lies.
I dreaded the morning of the "deep end". Those words still echo in my head in baritone voice. It all happened very quick. Someone put me in a life jacket and someone else shoved. Yep, shoved. It's a miracle that I don't have a phobia of water or blocky orange life jackets for that matter. However, I do have an unadultrated hostility to the name Wendy. She was the one that shoved.
Don't shoved, it's not nice. And it's even not nicer at 7:30AM on a summer morning in Western NY.