Swimmer

Author: Mike Healy

‘'This summer I went a swimming this summer I might have drowned,

But I held my breath and I kicked my feet and I moved my arms around.

I moved my arms around.'’

Jenny was grateful for the words of the song that had been playing on the Jeep’s CD and that now went around and around in her head. She had to think of anything other than this terrible thing she was about to do. If she could exercise the will-power that her friends so admired her for, convince herself that this was just another idle swim, she would reach the inevitable coda, and it would be over: this torment, this pain.

At a distance from the shore now, she continued to swim evenly and relentlessly out to sea. The crawl, her best stroke, and her toned taut body would keep her going for a while yet. And when fatigue set in it would be too late to turn back, she would be absolved of this ultimate sin, and fate could take the blame.

As she changed from crawl to backstroke, a flicker against the shore line caused her to look towards the beach. A figure, almost certainly a man, was walking purposefully towards her bag. He picked it up without breaking his stride and disappeared through the gap in the dune.

Treading water Jenny felt smothered by the feeling of helpless panic that surged through her body. This was not how it was supposed to be. This stranger, this thief, had no place in her story.

He wanted the Jeep of course, but what of her letter? It was vital that John find the letter. She had written and rewritten it so many times trying to justify her actions, until she was quite sure she had explained and excused her state of mind. She had never meant to leave without saying goodbye.

How long before he found the keys? In her shoe, pushed right down to the toe of the left, always the left plimsoll.

Breaking free of the nightmare she started swimming towards the shore. The tide had started to turn now and the water, feeling much heavier, pulled hard against her weakening body. The pain in her upper arms was becoming unbearable and for the first time in her life she knew real fear, as she felt the growing cramp in the sole of her left foot. By now he would have emptied the bag onto the ground and would be riffling through it in dismay. He might walk back through the gap any moment.

Jenny blocked out the pain and fought against the jealous sea.

At last she staggered out of the water and crawled on her hands and knees to the beige shoes. Yes, the keys were there, safe. She knelt in the sand and hugged them to her breast like a precious foundling and cried.

After a time she felt strong enough to walk to the Land Cruiser. Ignoring the bag and it's contents scattered around on the tarmac she opened the driver’s door picked up the letter, tore it into little pieces and threw the confetti to the

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Reviews:

  • Reviewed by Maizy Burger  on  May 13th, 2011

    Beautifully written. Would have liked to know more about the story. What caused her actions? Please write more.

  • Reviewed by Maizy Burger  on  May 13th, 2011

    Beautifully written. Would have liked to know more about the story. What caused her actions? Please write more.

  • Reviewed by Ben  on  May 14th, 2011

    Very well articulated. Pity that you mixed up a Land Cruizer for a Jeep. Otherwise perfect!!!

  • Reviewed by Lorena  on  June 12th, 2011

    It was gripping!! I'd like to know more of her thoughts as she tore up her suicide note. Was she trying to escape her torment and pain with an act of ultimate vengeance against it or John? Thought provoking!


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