Breaststroke. It wasn’t possible while doing freestyle.
Honestly, I was surprised to find it was possible at all. In fact, my body was in no condition to be swimming in the first place after 5 days of on and off crying, but I thought I would give it a respite from thinking by going to the pool, since normally that’s the only way to turn my brain off.
Imagine my surprise when I found myself gulping for air while tears clogged my goggles.
I kept wondering whether the lifeguard had any idea. I assume he didn’t, since there’s so much water everywhere anyway. If he noticed I was having trouble breathing, he probably just figured I was out of shape.
Or maybe it’s more common than I know, crying in a pool. Maybe others also come to literally drown their sorrows and discover something that used to be meditative and soothing doesn’t work when you’ve reached a certain level of devastation. Perhaps the lifeguard, in these situations, acts less like a preserver of life and more a guard of comfort. If you are sad enough to be crying while swimming, maybe he thinks, you deserve the decency to not be disturbed while you do so.
More likely he just didn’t notice. But it’s nice to think it’s possible I wasn’t alone in my exercise–that there really is some sort of healing power of tears in a pool. That all of that water, chlorine mixing with salt, could eventually wash away your sadness, or even just help you forget about it for a minute or two. Or at least let you make it to the train afterward without sobbing, if you’ve been practicing crying while walking for almost a week.