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Early Morning Swim Practice

by Belinda Furby

At 5am, the darkness is so thick I’m tempted to turn on the windshield wipers to see if the black can be scraped off the glass. It's finally turned cold and we have set the heater and both seat warmers as high as they will go. Inside, the truck is like a womb, protecting us from the outside world: from the cold, from the yards Ellen is about to swim, and from my impending day of being a responsible mother, wife, and employee. Ellen is curled in a ball on the seat next to me, trying to get just a few more minutes of sleep as we drive, facing the window with her sweatshirt hood pulled over her head; I can see her face in the reflection, though. So strange - it's like looking at me 25 years ago - caught in that weird in between time of being two people at once, woman and girl, each fighting it out to see who will land on top. It makes me sad to see the girl in her letting go, giving up, but I rather like this new woman who visits me now and then; I think we'll be good friends.

6S

Belinda Furby is the author of Louisiana January. Ellen is 15 and has been swimming competitively since she was six.

5 comments:

GM said...

This almost reminds me of the end of "Casablanca." It's great to see children turning into young adults with minds and activities of their own. And anyone who'd be so passionate to get in the car in those conditions has to be admired. I live in Arizona now, but you remind me of the New Jersey winters of my youth.

Linda said...

Belinda, Really enjoyed this, reminded me of an instant last night when, checking on my 8 year-old son, I could see the lankiness of his limbs stretched across the mattress and realized he would soon be a man. It took my breath away. Your first two sentences, btw, perfect. Peace...

Anonymous said...

This piece is simply excellent.

Baby Island said...

Belinda,

Really like this and am anticipating this experience with my own daughters one day.

:)

Amanda said...

Love this.