The afternoon light is so bright through the windows that the bottom of the pool is awash in sunshine. In the lane next to me, a beautiful Chinese woman in a swim cap and black racing suit with orange flames does a long swanlike breast stroke that takes her fully under water for several seconds until she gently emerges for several beats and disappears again under the surface where the sun is shining.
She is wearing a pearl necklace and pearl drop earrings on small very gold hoops.
At one point she comes up next to me and we are both swimming the breaststroke but mine is pull and up and kick and hers is dive and stroke and emerge. I want to race her but it feels unseemly, the racing would cause a loss of decorum, upset the balance that we have, each in our own lanes. She doesn’t intend to be fast or slow, so to suggest competition would be contrary to her entire demeanor and certainly to her pearls although she is not slow and when I let up just a little bit she easily passes me.
I’ve seen her once before, this swimmer with the pearls.