He saw me at the pool. I was giving swimming lessons to a group of ten year old kids. He watched me from the side, sitting with the parents of the kids. I assumed one of them was his, but it turned out his interest in the class was much different.
I saw him as I came out of the change room after the lesson. The parents were taking their kids out of the community center. My hair was wet and I was wearing a loose fitting t-shirt and a pair of skinny jeans over my swimsuit. I intended to change at home. He approached and offered his hand to shake, I took it.
“Which one is yours?” I asked, shaking his hand.
“None of them,” he answered, shaking my hand.
I must have looked surprised and confused because he laughed and snapped the fingers of his free hand right next to my face. He spoke quickly, “Don’t worry, don’t think about it. It’s okay not to think about it not to worry about it feel my hand moving yours up and down up and down, don’t worry about it just focus on the feel of your hand in my hand and don’t think.”
The words were quick and I couldn’t follow them. I wasn’t supposed to worry about something, not think about something. I felt my hand in his still shaking, up and down. Up and down.
“What?” I remember asking.
He took my hand from his and twisted it so the palm was facing skyward then he bent my elbow and brought my palm up to my face. I felt one hand on the back of my head, the other on my wrist guiding my palm up towards my face.
“Look at your hand, closer closer. Don’t think just sleep,” he said, quickly and firmly.
I felt my eyes flicker then close. I felt a pressure on the back of my head and my chin fell forward onto my chest. He let go of my wrist and my arm fell loose and limp. Both his hands on my head moving it in a circular pattern. He was talking, fast. Confusingly.
“Don’t worry. Don’t think. Just sleep. Deeply sleep. Deep sleepy now,” he said.
He talked more after that but I don’t remember much. I opened my eyes afterwards and watched myself follow him out of the community center. I got into his car and then my eyes closed. I listened to his voice as we drove, the motion of the car lulling me deeper.
I don’t teach children to swim any more. I simply obey. It’s an easier life, less stress. Less worries. Less thoughts.
But I still wear the swimsuit.