The early morning swim was getting underway. Dan, stepping from the changing room, looked out across the swimming pool. There were only two men in and they were both in the slow lane. He didn’t think he’d seen the men here before. They both, he noticed, looked alike with their going grey hair and blue trunks. Across from them, Dan spotted two life guards – a man and a woman- both wearing red t-shirts and in deep conversation.
Dan walked to the ladder and began climbing in. He braced himself for the chill of the water, but it wasn’t enough and as his feet broke the surface, he shivered. Getting the rest of the way in, he took deep breaths and jumped up and down. Water splashed against his shoulders and face, making the chill deeper.
He ducked under briefly, rose and shook the water from his hair. He brushed it back and set off on his first lap. Ignoring the cold water, he lazy swam to the other end of the pool. When got there, he turned and saw the two men crossing over into the middle lane. Dan swam back, faster this time, feeling fully awake. He reached the end in half the time and paused to catch his breath.
Soft giggles caused his head to turn. He saw Nat and two old women walking out of the female changing room. Dan let his feet rest on the floor and watched Nat walked over. She had lost some of her weight in the four years they had been together, but had still kept the soft curving figure he had grown to love. He smiled at her and she smiled back, before turning around and stepping down the ladder.
Even though it was difficult for him to take his eyes off her, Dan glanced up as the male lifeguard walked over to the two old women and began talking to them. The waves of water made him turn back to Nat as she small stepped over to him.
‘It’s cold today!’
‘Yeah, it really is,’ Dan agreed.
‘You’d think they’d at least put a heater on, what with the weather outside and everything!’
Dan nodded, ‘once you get swimming you’ll be fine. Come on I’ll do your first length with you.’
Nat smiled her thanks and after a few moments, they set off together. The water rushed and swirled around them, almost caressing the couple as they swam side by side. Dan reached the other end before Nat did and quickly turned around.
‘See? It’s not so bad,’ he called out.
‘It’s bloody freezing!’ she responded as she reached for the pool’s edge.
Dan laughed then nodded towards the two old women who’d just got in and were warming up. ‘What were you talking to them about?’
‘Us,’ Nat replied simply.
‘Getting married. They weren’t going to let it drop. They’re like two chatty school girls!’
Dan shook his head as Nat broke into laughter.
‘Come on,’ she added and splashing him, set off again.
With a little growl, Dan chased after her. He caught her leg and heard Nat give a little squeal. Letting go, he swam passed her, being sure only to splash her a little. He raced her and reached the other side far in front of her. He turned, saw she was only half way and felt victory warming him. He shot a look at the two old ladies and they grumpily looked back at him.
‘Go in the fast lane, please,’ one of them said.
Dan nodded, tasting his victory going sour. He watched them set off. The water finding it’s way into the folds of their wrinkled skin and clinging on. He breathed out a sigh then felt Nat’s hand on his shoulder.
‘I’m fine now, go on,’ she said.
Dan bent his head for a quick kiss. Her lips tasted of the water, but he ignored that and embraced the softness of the kiss. He didn’t want it to end, but he felt Nat putting a hand on his chest and gently pushing him away.
‘Catch you after a few lengths?’ she asked as their lips separated.
‘Sure. Have fun,’ he replied then ducked the lane rope.
Nat watched him go, keeping her giggle to herself. They smiled at each other once more, then Dan swam away. Nat trailed after him, unable to stop smiling and even though the swimming pool water still felt cold, it couldn’t chill her warm glow.