“As my eyes rose above the top of the water it started to sunshower. I stood all the way up and reached my hands into the rain.”
Ever since I was 4 years old and my Dad threw me screaming and crying into a backyard pool, I have loved to swim.
A beloved frenemy of mine who I worked with as a shopgirl once invited me over to ask me a series of questions that she had come up with and self-determined as the only ~true~ way to get to know someone. “Ask someone you’re shagging even one of these questions, you’ll be blown away,” she bragged. Anyway, one of these q’s was something like “What’s one thing you would do forever if, like, nothing mattered?” Instantly I said, swim. I would swim.
On our honeymoon, my husband (who I was indeed shagging) and I went to an island. I was too tired to do much touring and spent most of my first days laying by the beach, longing to be in the water. My post-wedding exhaustion was lingering as endless nausea and the waves made me feel like I was going to hurl. On the third day, desperate for the ocean, I took a Gravol for breakfast and waded out as the dimenhydrinate took over (sorry Mom!). My stomach settled and my sleepy mind emptied. I floated and fell into twilight sleep, the salt steadfastly holding me up. My husband tells this story and says I had floated out so far I was only a speck to him. Blue all around me, I was only a speck to me too.
Several years later we rented a shack by a river for our anniversary as, upon reflection, we like to celebrate with increased proximity to bodies of water. Hazy with late afternoon sun, I got up from a nap on the dock and dove in. As my eyes rose above the top of the water it started to sunshower. I stood all the way up and reached my hands into the rain. I thought about yelling to wake him so he wouldn’t miss it but waited for a moment. Instead, slowly swimming up and down the river, hovering at the top of the water so I couldn’t tell what was skin, what was river, what was rain.
I have a bath almost every day, hot, with Epsom salts if I can. There, I close my eyes and let the salt buoy my hands to the surface, feeling the tension of the water gently hold and then break way to my skin. I am in the pool, the ocean, the river, I am swimming. Swimming, like if nothing mattered.
Sent from my bathtub.
Alexis Eastman is a producer at The Theatre Centre.
Alone Together is a series of shared stories by The Theatre Centre. Over the next several weeks, our team is going to offer you some of our own personal joys, those things that nudge us, the arms that extend to us in the dark, those things that catch our hearts off guard. And we’d love to hear from you in return… what’s blowing your heart open these days?
Catch up on previous editions of Alone Together:
• Artistic Director Aislinn Rose on Teju Cole’s interview with On Being