My first time…

On a warm and humid May day when spring is almost over and temperatures are rising, Morgan came back to town. It’s almost three years since he left, but not much has changed, actually a 7-Eleven store has open next to the butchers but the rest looks the same. Just after graduation, he applied for Boston University which is one of the best and well-known of Massachusetts State. It was not a big deal for him to leave this place, his life was dull, and nothing exciting happened, not much entertainment. In fact, he realized after leaving the town that he was escaping from routine and boredom. He always dreamt of living on his own, surrounded by interesting people in a big city where hanging around with friends in bars with life music is considered a sign of being cool. He aspired to a more vivid lifestyle, with cultural and artistic insights. For the past 18 years he was attending church community events which were the best he could get to amuse himself.

Each time coming back to town was a good reason to see his grandfather. Morgan’s grandfather was an important part of his life, he looked up to him. He was a reputable Christian devoted servant, a good man, who had an extreme passion for swimming. All his life was revolved around swimming; he won several open water swim competitions, and once you saw his house you could admire how important this sport was to him. Above the chimney he had all the medals and trophies exposed, the photos and journal articles framed all over showed some of his remarkable successes. But unfortunately the ravages of time, made him stay more in the surface then in the water.

He was a strong tall man, his fellows were smaller than him, although the most outstanding about him was that he never revealed any sign of fear. He loved challenges, that was demonstrated by his obsessions in Thriathlons and open water swim races which most of them he won. These achievements gave him such popularity that he was named prodigal citizen of Portsmouth.

It was 1975, when Morgan went with his grandfather to the sea for the first time. Morgan will never forget how his grandfather told him not to be afraid of water, he used to say that water is your friend. Morgan remembered these words so clearly that it seemed yesterday. That day heaven placed a clear blue sky over the coast, wind was still and calm and just a few people were strolling along the beach. At this time Morgan was just 5 years old, but watching his grandfather swimming captured all his attention. As fast as a dolphin, with no signs of effort or breathlessness, his movements seemed so natural that makes you think his doing it his entire life. He could swim for hours, his stamina was endless.

Morgan wanted to be like him, take his legacy and be a much bigger swimmer. Looking deeply into the ocean, he thought about the enormous greatness, its hidden secrets and unexpected tides. His grandfather was also a prodigious story teller and easily made up stories about pirates, sailors, mermaids and other sea related creatures. Most of Morgan’s sea wisdom was the result of listening to all the stories his grandfather used to tell.

The moment of truth came, both hand in hand went deep into the sea, Morgan felt scared but he didn’t show a pinch of his fear, there’s no doubt about it, he thought. He started to relax when his grandfather said “I will be here for you, you need to rely on me”. First he was taught how to stay afloat. Afterwards he started to synchronize his movements and his grandfather gave him some basic instructions. However, after almost drowning and some water swallowed, he got the right stream. When he did his first’s strokes, both looked at each other and knew it would be an important day in Morgan’s life. He was swimming for the first time.

From this significant day Morgan started to go with his grandfather to the sea almost every week, he felt invincible, the azure sea brought calm into his fearful soul. He could swim next to his grandfather, against tire with multitude of waves splashing towards his body. With each stroke his power raised, his body seemed sailing in perfect harmony with the sound of the sea.The afternoon breeze took Morgan back from his memories to the real state of things. He was sitting at grandfather’s house veranda holding an almost burned down cigarette and a glass of coke with some rest of melted ice cubes. Not being able to get into the house, he preferred keep thinking of his grandfather as the unbeatable and powerful man he was, who will always be there for him, he will never faint or pass away.

Morgan imagined his grandfather’s loss as part of one of his adventure stories. That was his last race, Morgan thought, probably he is taken prisoner by pirates that don’t let him go, he is captured forever and will be drowned by the boundless sea.

Claudia Rodriguez

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