The Fifteen Minute Novel: Day 184

The Fifteen Minute Novel is a novel written fifteen minutes at a time with each week day’s section starting with the sentence from the previous day. At least it is attempting to be a novel. For now I am just aiming at one continuous story, worked on for fifteen minutes each day. Started Friday January 1st, 2021 (in case you want to search for the beginning. I can’t wait to see where it ends up. It could be good, or it could be a mess. We’ll have to see. For now, here is today’s fifteen minutes.

Day 184: The soft sound of his splashing was loud in the empty room.

The soft sound of his splashing was loud in the empty room. The water was a cool shock to his skin, but not unpleasant.  His feet found the bottom of the pool and he waded to the back.  James stretched a little and slipped his goggles from where they decorated the top of his head, down to cover his eyes. 

He took a deep breath, bent his knees lifting his feet to the back wall as he did and kicked off.  He was submerged and feeling the water ripple over him with his movements.  He loved the slight feeling of resistance against his body as he sliced through the water.  It was as though he was trying to walk into a strong wind. 

His propelled kick slid him into his lane and he swam under water until he needed to come up for air.  There he switched to swim closer to the top, arcing each arm over and turning his head from water to air in a rhythm that seemed second nature even after so much time away.

He reached the far end of the pool.  James pushed off the wall into the back stroke intending to swim back to his starting point.  Halfway across the pool he felt an unfamiliar tightness in his shoulders and he realized he was breathing harder than he ever had in the pool.  Determined not to give in, James completed the lap. 

When he was back where he started, James stood up and slipped the goggles off of his eyes.  The pool area was still empty, save himself.  He looked around, studying the pool.  It was the standard Olympic size.  It was what he grew up with.  He had never had a problem swimming laps before.  Always he was restrained by time.  He even had to set a timer to let him know when he needed to leave the pool and get ready for school. He assumed the same would hold true here.

‘But I’m not a kid any more,’ he reminded himself. ‘And I haven’t swim laps for years.’

He felt a mind frustration with his body, but shrugged it off.  ‘Practice,’ he told himself.

James stood at the end of the pool and stretched until his arms felt less tight.  Then he began another set of laps.  He used the same mode as he had before.  Underwater kick off, overhand crawl to the end and back stroke to return.  Again his arms and shoulders burned from the unaccustomed motions.  Again James rested.  When he felt his arms were ready, he did another set of laps.

By the time James dragged himself out of the pool, his arms and back were aching.  His laps were done in fits and starts.  After each lap, the muscle ache faded less.  Now at the end of his time he suspected he would be achy the rest of the morning. 

James toweled off so he was dripping less and not leaving a mess along the pool desk.  He didn’t want to leave puddles for anyone else to slip in.  When toweled off, he made his way back to the changing rooms. “Time and practice,” He muttered.  Mixed in with the frustration was a thread of determination.

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