The dampness of an indoor swimming pool, the unfamiliar echoes of voices bouncing off of water, high ceilings, hard tiles, skylights. Under it all the hum of the circulator. Diving board rough as sandpaper, three feet of air above ten feet of water. We are well-practiced at swimming, at floating, bobbing, treading water, turning our heads to breathe, floating on our backs and tracing a wobbly lane length, completely at ease in the shallows.

Jumping is easy; we have practiced leaping from the porch rail to the front lawn, shock of earth running up from ankles to shins to knees, an unpolished roll, grass stains on your back, wind knocked out of us, up and around again, this should be the same. Easier, even; water is an open arm by comparison, a welcome home, but—

It’s an uncertain landing, whatever happens.

Later on, we learn ways around the fundamental problem: shallow dives that curve back to the air quickly, pencil dives that settle our feet deep below the surface to push us up again, but this is formless, without meaning, a darkness on the surface of the waters. Looking forward, we will cross that gap, forget this moment, but here, now, with our hair slowly drying, we linger.