Never underestimate the power of cold water. We once jumped in Flathead Lake on New Year’s Day. Flathead Lake is in Montana. New Year’s is in January. So it was pretty fucking chilly.
And though we be Californians now, superstition still drives us to madness. The bad luck of the past year is enough to make me pull on my swimsuit and drape myself with towels. The Bay Area fog has rolled in tight and thick, the temperature dropping and the thermostat turned up high. We look like penguins as we waddle, swaddled, down to the pool’s edge.
“Bullshit,” Marshmallow says, to my brother’s declaration that “to not go is bad juju.” Whatever bad juju is, you can be sure you don’t want any, and so even she is suited up and ready to leap into the freezing depths of the unheated swimming pool.
She even takes the lead. I see the red skirt of her bathing suit fly up with the water, her head and arms flung back, the water arcing around her body. Then she is down through the greenish water, across and out. Mr. D follows, his splash larger and his head rushing headlong towards the opposite end of the pool. I go next, before doubt and pragmatism can dissuade any stubborn impulse. Just jump. Go. Now.
The icy water drives any and all thought from my brain. I barely remember how my limbs function, and blindly cut my way across the pool floor. My screams and loud laughter bring neighbors onto their balconies. Pim wades into the shallow end, with a series of splashes and wild movements, he’s in and out. We’re all crazy; we’re all laughing. The chilly air is warm around my frozen body and hell, I feel pretty good. We all feel pretty good.
For months I’ve been trapped in a fog of sinus problems and joint disorders. But for a few minutes outside the frigid pool, I feel like my old self. Like a girl who would jump into Flathead Lake in January.