Nightswimming

November 6, 2009


If you click on the picture it will take you to Josie’s fantastic blog, Sleep is for the Weak. This week is week 4 of the Writing Workshop. This is my submission this week, Josie kindly included one of my prompts. This has been a difficult week, and this is a work of fiction which is a new one for me, so please be kind:

The evening is warm and soft on my skin and the air is fragrant from the pine trees that surround the lake. It is September, the end of the summer and we are making the most of the extended good weather to have one last camping trip to the lake. It has been a summer of growth, of change and of new beginnings. I am alone and feel open and free as I walk slowly through the trees. The pine needles prickle on the soles of my feet and the water shines silver between the trees. It is completely flat, not a ripple in sight and is reflecting the moon and trees like a mirror.

I wander to the water’s edge and dip a toe into the water. The silence envelopes me and I know that here, in this moment I am completely alone and the freedom of that though overtakes me as I quickly shrug all of my clothes to the ground and stand naked for a brief second at the edge of the water before gently walking in and submerging myself as silently as possible, not wanting to draw attention to myself. The water feels cool and soft against my skin and I am filled with a feeling of recklessness. I am a mermaid, I am anything I want to be. I am strong and fearless and can do anything I want to do. I feel sexy and alive and free. The fear that I could get caught here, completely naked, makes each and every feeling a million times more intense.

The moon is low over the trees and after a while I tire and swim lazily to the edge and after reassuring myself that I am still alone, I slip from the water and use my shirt as a towel to roughly dry my skin, feeling my circulation come alive and start to warm me. I hang the shirt from a tree branch and leave it at the water’s edge. It will be easy to collect it in the morning. I wander back and join my friends at the campfire, their faces animated by the flickering flames, sharing jokes and stories.

Two days later, when back at home and real life was in full force again I received an envelope in the post. All that was inside was a photograph. Of me swimming in the lake, my head just silhouetted against the bright white moon reflected off the water. There was no note, no indication of who had seen me, what they saw and why they sent me the photo.

I have kept that photo for years. On the dashboard in my car, to remind me that once I felt so alive and so free.

This was inspired by one of those perfect iPod shuffle moments last week – I was walking alone through the autumn leaves and had just dropped Piran off at his Nanny & Grandad’s and I had a few blissful hours to myself. I was feeling free and Nightswimming by REM is a favourite song that I had not heard in a long time and it was just really uplifting.

4 Comments

  • Reply education toys November 6, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Hi, nice to meet you, I'm wandering on internet and catch your blog. you write like a writer. are you writer or do some job like writing? By the way, nice day.

  • Reply The Dotterel November 6, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    You ought to read 'Waterlog' by Roger Deakin. As one fan of night-swimming to another. A wonderfully evocative piece of writing, btw.

  • Reply gaelikaa November 6, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Fabulous Kelly! You are a super writer!

  • Reply Josie @Sleep is for the Weak November 6, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Beautiful Kelly! I could feel that cool water as I read… I'd love to have that moment too.

    Thank you for sharing that – so glad you did xx

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