The afternoon lay over the pool, running its fingers lazily through the water. The ripples seemed almost to reflect on the sky, in which clouds were gathered in herds. Ana sat at the bottom with her hands on her knees, until the pressure on her ears became unbearable and she had to come up, gasping. She liked being underwater, feeling the drag of her limbs. She liked the feeling of gravity. When she finally crawled, pruned and chattering, out of the water, she felt overly light.

She went to the pool in the winter. People out of principle never came to the pool in the winter, even though winter was the only time of year you could get burned. A real sunburn, not the kind of chapped red brought on by cold wind. So every week in December the pool stayed blissfully empty and quiet.

A cat, long and black, crept out from under a bush. It was missing a chunk of ear and only one yellow eye gleamed out at her. Ana felt such love for it suddenly that she thought she might cry. She tapped her nails on the concrete, hoping it might rub against her hand.

“You know, it’s getting late,” said the cat gently, “You should probably go home soon.”

“Yes, that’s right,” Ana replied, lifting her leg out of the water. “Thank you.”


Rae Kim