the deep end.

it’s like diving into the deep end, this beginning. the start of something is always so slow and tender, even if you both know better. there are hurdles to clear and baggage to negotiate, and yet,

you jump.

your swan dive is clumsy and needs refining. you’ll spend hours at the pool, plunging into the water again and again until the motions make sense, until you can sing a song in your head and dive at the same time— then you’ll know you have it memorized. i used to do the same thing when i was trying to learn my lines, back in the days before i met you. i would write them out over and over again, stopping only when the melody running through my brain was complete. if i got distracted, if i couldn’t properly remember, i would begin again.

the water is cold but the chlorine burns the insides of your nostrils, your eyes, which you always, inexplicably, keep open. you don’t miss a single moment. dripping wet, you clamber up the side of the pool, your right shoulder stinging where it came into contact with the calm, clear surface that ripples and wrinkles now where you disrupted it. the pool is closed off for diving practice, and no one has noticed you’re not supposed to be here. they’ll discover you weeks from now, when your form is perfect, when you’re ready to move on to something else.

"good at everything, great at nothing," you’ve said, but i disagree. i have seen you meet the deep end, have seen you plunge from the highest platform through the surface in a smooth, perfect arc. time stops and i hold my breath, like i’m expecting the waiting water to solidify, for you to come crashing down to the earth. with hardly a splash, with no fanfare at all, there you are, wriggling towards the side of the pool, successful, beaming.

and here we are, tangled up in your towel and each other, your hair damp and smelling sharply of sweat and pool water, and i’m holding you tighter and tighter and i don’t ever want this moment to end, and i don’t ever want to let you go.

it’s like diving into the deep end, this beginning.
and here we are, tangled up in the blankets and each other, and i can hear your heartbeat from where my head rests on your chest. another breath in and i don’t move a muscle because i know you’re falling asleep, slipping away from me even though your sweat is still silky on my skin. i will be right here, all of my limbs tingling from holding so still, when you wake, when you climb towards me, successful, beaming.

the start of something, so slow and tender, is the rise and fall of your chest as you sleep here curled in my arms. here we are, clumsy and imperfect, and i hope you never deem yourself “great" at me. stay good, stay right here, dive into the deep end.

i’ll be there, waiting.