Swimming by Virgilio Piñera

I’ve learnt to swim on dry land. It turns out to be more practical than doing it in the water. There is no fear of sinking, for one is already on the bottom, and by the same token, one is drowned beforehand. It also avoids having to be fished out by the light of a lantern or in the dazzling clarity of a beautiful day. Finally, the absence of water keeps one from swelling up.

I won’t deny that swimming on dry land is somewhat agonising. At first sight one would be reminded of death throes. Nevertheless, this is different: at the same time it is agonising, one is quite alive, quite alert, listening to the music entering through the window and watching the worm crawl across the floor.

At first my friends criticised this decision. They fled from my glances and sobbed in the corners. Happily, the crisis is past. Now they know that I am comfortable swimming on dry land. I sink my hands into the marble tiles and offer them a tiny fish that I catch in the submarine depths.

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