Friday, February 16, 2018

8 Minute Memoir, Day 47: Swimming

My feet graze the sand as I float in the warm saltwater of the Pacific Ocean.  I am a little ways offshore, letting the gentle rolling motions of the waves bring me in and out.  It's a beautiful day in Costa Rica and the first time I've touched the ocean in over five years... we are here, together, for an entire week.  Our first adventure to a foreign country and so far, we are proving to be good travel buddies.

He and I have vacationed together before, of course, but never anything like this.  When we left the airport in San Jose we were given directions that included things like "make a left at the soccer field at the bottom of the hill" and generally didn't include many street names, only the vague notion of a final destination, a wayward path to our home for a week.  But we made it, and now we are here, floating in the ocean.

I have always loved swimming.  We were lucky enough to have a pool growing up and I can't tell you how many countless hours I spent in the water during those long hot summers, my hair turning green from the chlorine.  I took swimming lessons and relished the ability that I had to be in the water.  Of course I was going to go swimming in Costa Rica, it wasn't even a question.

Over the course of the week we spend here together, we go swimming until our skin is wrinkled and sunburnt (despite constant sunscreen reapplications) and watch the sun go down over the horizon.  We go wading in the mornings, the water knee deep, the sun already burning brightly in the sky.

We go swimming in the aquamarine pool of our hostel, the space entirely ours alone--languid and luxurious laps from one end to the other, occasionally meeting in the middle for a kiss or two.

Tom rents a body board and plays around in the surf while I see how long I can hold my breath underwater, gliding back to the sand with the current.

We spend a day with one of our best friends, Jackie, who has friends who live in the big bright yellow high rise on the south end of the beach... we check out their gorgeous condo, then we go swimming and get tipsy in the palatial infinity pool down on the ground level.

We make the drive to Manuel Antonio National Park... the colors on the beach are so vivid and the water is unreal, almost technicolor... but the surf is rough, and it knocks me around a bit, to the point where I spend the rest of the day on a beach towel, with a book, soaking up the sun and watching Tom swim.

Even later on in the week we spend there, when I start dealing with congestion and burning eyes from some sort of illness that follows me back to the States, I take medication (with labels in Spanish, from the pharmacist who I think could understand what I was looking for) and I throw myself into the water anyway, because even though I feel pretty awful by the time we have to leave, I can't stay out of the ocean.  In fact, on the day that we finally do our make our departure, I am quiet and observing during the 2 hour drive back to the city, to the airport, and I cry before I get on the plane to go home.

I dream of those waves, the crystalline glitter of the sunlight hitting the surface, the salt sticking to my skin.  The rhythmic melody of the waves, always consistently rolling in, over and over and over.  A rhythm not unlike that of my own feet on a run, dependable and steady.  I'd go back there in a heartbeat.  Hopefully someday, I'll get to experience the emphatic delight of playing in those waves again.

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