The public swimming pool is one of the loneliest places I know.
I swim daily in the chilly water, ignoring the splashes and muffled cries of delight vibrating in the air.
After my swim I torture myself by sitting in the cold stark cubicle listening to the distorted voices and the disconcerting laughter coming from the pool. I hear shrieking. I hear children’s elated screams. I hear belonging.
I don’t feel what they do. I sit and shiver, concentrating on the sounds, unsettling myself as I listen to other people’s happy noises echoing and filling my cheerless tiled isolated space.
Eventually each day I summon enough energy to drag a threadbare towel out of my bag and drag it across my damp skin before I head back into to a world where I no longer have a place.