It was a chilly morning and yesterday there had been bluebottles, but Frank went in anyway. Frank with his recently widowed white hair and his body still pale from this last winter just over. He dunked himself right under. The water was cold. He swam eight strokes out, not far, so he could still stand up. It was almost 6:30, he supposed. His shoulder hurt. He swam twelve strokes left, parallel to the shoreline. He worried about Christmas and his drinking and how the recycling bin was full but they hadn’t come to empty it. He swam twelve strokes right where he stopped and looked at the shore and felt the early sun beating on his right cheek. What if his daughter Sam, who he hadn’t seen for two whole years, what if she didn’t kiss him warmly? What if the warmth was gone? When he turned back around there was a jet stream trail scratched across the sky and he considered swimming out further, far past the headland and on, till his arms tired and his head grew foggy and his legs gave out out and then the recycling wouldn’t really matter so much. How do I know all this you wonder, from the warmth of the balcony where I sit with my first cup of tea? How do I know the ins and outs of Frank’s thoughts and fears? It’s in the strokes.


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