by Milo James Fowler
I can smell him before I see him. I'm not an ageist; it's not the old-man-odor of ointments on rusty joints. It's the stale, musty scent of his cigarette smoke that wafts toward me as I come up for air mid-stroke. It hovers in the space between chlorinated water and morning fog like a foul spirit, daring me to suck it into my lungs and let it fester. I don't know why he paces the length of the pool while I get in my thirty laps for the day. We are alone together here, neighbors, strangers.
Milo James Fowler is a full-time junior high teacher and a part-time writer. Visit him anytime, day or night, here.