An Autobiography in Water

by Harmony Button


In fourth grade, at my artsy hippie school, we used to walk to the local YMCA to go swimming. It was about a mile from the school to the pool, and we knew the route backwards and forwards: past the weird historical building with the lions on the porch, past the rod iron fence, over the freeway bridge, past Loraine’s Lunch Basket, which always seemed like an incredibly romantic place to me. The locker rooms at the YMCA smelled like hot chlorine and hotel shampoo, and I hated the first touch of the wet floor on my dry feet. It was always an odd feeling to shed our winter coats and hats, our sweatshirts, our t-shirts, our underwear — we had just walked through the snow, and now here we were, naked! We were supposed to shower before getting in the pool, but who ever heard of taking a shower with a swimsuit on? It felt wrong, stepping into the warm water, letting it soak through the tight, dry Lycra. Continue reading