Most members preferred the heated indoor pool, with its regimented lanes and floodlights. He’d always found it stifling in there. The water felt greasy and clotted somehow, with the swimmers who treated the water like an obstacle to slap and push out of the way as they thumped to the end of the pool. No. He’d always loved the outdoor Lido with its dazzling white lines and aquamarine tiles. The shocking cold of the unheated water, that always felt smooth and heavy. All the Lido folk shared the common accord of water worshipers. They came for the water and not for the exercise. And, of course, for her. The escape to the water’s embrace always began with her.
For some, it was the ritual of placing the dog-eared membership card on her counter to receive a worn changing room key from her slender hand. Pale and delicate as dawn light, as was her heart-shaped face. For others it was her eyes. Almost translucent in their grayness. For him, it was her hair. The tumble of bright amber tresses that lifted gently as she walked away to stow his card. Only then would he dare to gaze at her, when there was no chance of meeting her fierce gaze. Yes, fierce, for though lithe and petite, her face radiated an amused intensity that made him as bashful as a schoolboy, and utterly unable to string together anything coherent.
Perhaps it was the baking heat of the afternoon that made him so bold, or the long, tiring drive from work, but as he pushed past the turnstile he steeled himself to finally speak to her. As he glanced up to meet her gaze his stomach tripped, stopping him short as if his feet were slipping. He pressed on, catching haunting snatches words. Always the same tune, whispered with a husky, breathy grace. Stars shining bright above you. Her pale lips creased gently in to a wry grin, crinkling the orbs of her eyes as he loudly cleared his throat. “Wwhen do you swim” was all he could manage. She laughed and cocked her head to one side. “In the moonlight. Here. At Midnight. With You”. Taking his hand gently, she drew him forward behind the counter. Cold metal pressed in to his palm, and she darted forward to whisper in to his ear. “Its for the gate at the end of the changing rooms”. The woody musk of her hair washed over him as she took his head between her hands. “Go swim now. I want you cool and collected tonight. With a swift push backward he stepped through the curtain and lurched toward the changing rooms. Only then did he breathe.
Copyright Tom Tide 2017