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Carol Pierce (USA)


I used to see the older man whenever I went swimming at my neighbourhood Y. Often, he was in the pool before I arrived, in the slow lane near the women’s locker room, on his back, kicking, arms at his side. I’d smile and say hello as I walked from the locker room to the other side of the pool. The etched-in frown on his face was always there, no matter what. Sometimes, he’d nod. Never smiled or offered any verbal acknowledgement. On the day I first met him, a middle-aged man and I were the only ones swimming in the medium lane, so we were able to split it. I swam on the left side and he on the right until the old man arrived. Wearing black trunks and a black swim cap, the old man jumped in and announced, “We’ll have to circle.” We weren’t happy to have…