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Swimming

written by: N.E. Teeuw

 

She remembered swimming when everything was easy, as a child.
It was the thing that she had loved the most
The feel of the water on her body had always been something special to her. She missed it. She missed the happiness of it
The hot weather that came with it. That called for it
That took her out of school early when it was too scorching to bear and the schools would surrender to the call of the big blue.
Before the boys from school turn up as teenagers
And her body changed, and the men turned their heads.
The rules changed.
Before the boys would taunt her the next day.
Nobody ever told her that this would happen
That the rules would change
That monitoring would be required
She didn’t want this body. That was neither fat nor thin.
She didn’t want the other girl's body either.
The one they taunted for other reasons
Approving reasons.
She wanted to be a boy. For it to not matter what her body looked like when she wanted to swim
Because no matter what, this girl's body, it seemed
Was now only an object for the boys to judge
To tease. To want. Or reject.
It wasn’t hers anymore it seemed
It was property of the patriarchy
Eventually, the swimsuits she outwore
Were thrown away.
And never replaced.
Eventually she forgot the excitement of the pool
And the hunger for food she always had afterward
But she never forgot how much she loved it.
And on this hot summer's day, she sat there on the grass
Watching the boys diving
And she wished she was a child again.
Swimming.

N.E. Teeuw

N.E. Teeuw

Writer, poet and songstress, N. E. Teeuw grew up in Melbourne, Australia. With a background in song-writing and an honest and vulnerable storytelling sense, her words capture her unique voice in a powerful and heartfelt way, manifesting itself in the form of a beautiful book titled 'One Hundred Valentines' which is exquisitely delivered and a delicate, yet powerful collaboration of poetry, painting and prose.
N.E. Teeuw

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