Jeannie is one in every of these inch worm varieties. One toe in, one toe again. The chilly has all the time been alien. From delivery, actually. Even right this moment, she shivers with the water temperature round 20 levels. Infants are gurgling in moms’ arms within the pool, for God’s sake.
Cassius with the lean and hungry look is descending the steps. Italian background, maybe? You possibly can’t assist however discover him. He’s sporting lengthy black tights. Nothing else. She sees the bulge as he mounts the cement block. Has he simply come from yoga? The Respiration Area? That may clarify the tights.
A shallow dive from his perch on excessive. The deep finish just isn’t so deep. Coronary heart-stopping … gasp…! The skinny man’s head emerges intact, halfway down the pool. No drawback. She breathes out, a sigh of aid.
Breaking the ice is the issue for Jeannie. Rubbing water on her legs, her arms. It doesn’t assist a lot. She flinches. Retreats, as a small youngster jumps in, splashing her.
Immersing the neck and the pinnacle is the worst. Precise ache. What a waste, when you’ve simply washed and primped your hair. Nonetheless, it’s over as soon as your hair is moist.
She is aware of … is aware of all of it… looking for enlightenment, even, doesn’t assist.
Cassius is doing laps. Such model, such swish ease, arms arced on the elbows, respiration out and in on both facet.
She’s immersed now in maternal liquid. The entire physique baptized. Is the water getting hotter? Or has her physique adjusted to the chilly? There are heat spots within the water. Do adults urinate within the pool? She thinks of the French phrase for swimming pool, piscine, that reminds her of this risk.
Jeannie notices individuals. The matriarch with the white cotton hat. Standing within the water as much as her neck. Watching. Greek background? German, maybe? The center-aged man with white hairs on his shoulders. Like a bear. A brand new child makes swimming motions, secure in its father’s grasp. Little legs and arms transferring backwards and forwards like a turtle. The French household, doing good Australian crawl.
Cassius is heading for the block once more. One other shallow dive. Easy. She breathes by means of it this time, understanding now that he’ll keep away from smashing his head on the rock-hard backside, keep away from inflicting crimson blood to rise to the floor.
The white-hatted girl stares at him. Frozen. He meets her gaze. She factors to the signage on the steps of the pool. Dozens of small icons. Jeannie follows the course of the sharp finger. Exhausting to see from right here. A canine with a slash throughout it? A diver with a crimson cross by means of it? Is there one for urinating? She thinks not.
‘Diving just isn’t allowed in right here,’ the girl scolds, ‘it says so on the signal.’
‘I understand how to do it,’ he says, ‘with out hurting myself. From years and years of observe.’ He’d chosen an area when it was away from our bodies too. No kids in the way in which.
‘It’s to guard others,’ the girl says. ‘Youngsters … from getting damage.’
Jeannie can see either side. She’s seen youngsters leaping and skylarking from the excessive cliffs on the Surf Membership tidal pool. Nobody’s ever mentioned something to them. Not even the lifesavers.
As she treads water, half-wading, in direction of the tip of the pool, she meets his gaze. Darkish eyes. Clever. Brooding.
‘I don’t care,’ he says, ‘about different individuals’s fears.’ She flinches inwardly, needing to know extra. Maybe he’s learn that current guide she’s seen someplace about not giving a care. 4-and-a-half stars on Amazon. ‘I’ve recovered twice from mind injury,’ he lets slip out, ‘anyway.’
She desires to ask questions, discover out extra about him, however he’s off, in all probability sorry that the phrases have escaped his secret mouth. Easily tanned, his hair a bit of longer than the norm, however neat.
She watches as he springs out of the pool on the deep finish. Lithe. Self possessed.
Cassius sits in a lotus place on the block on the deep finish of the pool. In profile like a sphinx. Misplaced in meditation. Upright. Lean and Spare. Like a statue, head and bust, legs invisible.
What’s going on inside? Inside his stomach? Inside his mind? His thoughts?
Wanting on the sphinx man, she wonders in regards to the snake uncoiling secretly inside; no motion on the surface of the stomach. Nothing. Not a flicker. The floor laborious and nonetheless.
She has learn in regards to the kundalini, a dormant power inside all of us. “Dharma”, historical Buddhist teachings, and ‘The determine of a coiled serpent — a goddess not of gross however refined substance’. Pretty phrases which have caught in her thoughts. Phrases of poetry. To not be confused with actuality, in fact.
Different phrases come to her now, slipping like small blue sea creatures out of the slumbering depths of her thoughts. One thing in regards to the thousand-petaled lotus on the crown of the pinnacle. Waves of sunshine and power coming from the bottom level within the physique, to the seventh on the high.
‘And with every awakening, the psyche of the particular person will probably be reworked.’
She swims to the opposite finish of the pool. To the shallow finish. When she seems again to the block on the different finish of the pool, the sphinx-like man has gone.
The subsequent day is Friday. There may be nothing left to eat within the flat. She hasn’t had breakfast, so by lunch time, Jeannie is ravenous. She clothes to go to yoga, after which to have a swim within the pool. At The Respiration Area she seems on the program for the Yoga lessons: The world is the nice gymnasium, the place we come to make ourselves robust, (Swami Vivekenanda), it reads out the entrance.
She walks into the yoga room. A beautiful heat engulfs her physique. She finds a spot within the nook behind the category, locations her seaside towel on the ground. The solar is streaming in by means of glass home windows. She takes off the tee shirt she’s worn over her swimsuit. She sits cross-legged, her palms dealing with up on her thighs. Straight-backed and peaceable, she thinks of the sphinx-man on the pool.
The meditation instructor is plump, a motherly kind in comfortable cotton harem pantaloons and a flowing jacket. Stomach fats oozes over her waist. She exudes love, her voice comfortable and maternal.
It isn’t obligatory to shut your eyes, the matriarch is saying. Higher to stay open, in order not to go to sleep. She feels spirit come up from deep inside her stomach.
A lit candle glows in entrance of Jeannie. There’s a strip of paper at her ft with a knowledge mantra on it: OM A RAPA TSA NA DHIH: ‘Might the knowledge thoughts discover you’ or one thing like that.
Her coronary heart swells inside her breast. She closes her eyes. She notes the video at her brow, flickering on and off in tune with the girl’s voice. The colours are these of the rainbow, pink, inexperienced, orange, that flood the shapes in her head.
The serpent goddess of refined substance slides into her thoughts.
The lulling voice of the instructor is telling them they’ll lie down now.
Ah, nice! Horizontal.
The instructor is speaking about love now. About sending loving rays out in direction of mates, acquaintances, nemeses. Transmitting love direct from the guts.
Would the objects of her love obtain the message? It doesn’t matter. She’s going to make the sphinx-like man the thing of her transmitted love? Why not? Would she acknowledge him once more from the transient encounter on the pool? It issues not. Love is all that issues.
Was he actual, or was he an phantasm, like a lot about life and love?
Takeaway: This can be a story about thriller, Buddhist matters and Zen notions, that are themes near my coronary heart. It’s additionally about the fantastic thing about language that invitations the reader to pause and to take heed to the sounds, not simply to the concepts. Skimming is okay for some functions, however let’s not overlook that language is supposed to be heard in addition to assigned a fast which means.