she dives into the water, the undisturbed pool barely rippling as she breaks the surface. it’s cold, almost icy after the heat of the summer night. above her, the ceiling is tinted glass and she can see through to the stars if she stands in the right spot.

tonight there’s a moon rising in the sky and she watches its path, tracks it as it moves into its final place. it’s almost hypnotic watching how it moves slowly, and she turns away, dips back under water and sets her goggles firmly in place. the chlorine stings her nose, and she can tell the water is already logging into her ears.

she drifts under water, brushes her fingers along the surface of the floor and then uses that as her impetus to move up. be a phoenix, she tells herself, letting a lungful of air out in tiny increments as she pushes her body up, sends water flying everywhere explosively as she draws in new air. this time the water around her does ripple and she skims her fingers along the surface as it settles, drinks in the peace of it quietly swishing around her.

for a while she just floats along, sometimes rowing her arms to move or kicking her heels up just to see the water disturbed, alternates this with her phoenix-move and jumps from the pool, hurries back and forth a few times to write down new art ideas.

at the end of the night she swims hard, harder than normal just to see the water churn around her and feel the surface of the pool against her bones. this is her favourite part of the evening on a summer night, to block out the rest of the world around her: at this time of night she slips in earplugs to stop more water getting in, and considers the immersion to be a cleansing of sorts.

it’s the time of night when she goes without disruption; the time when the world around her sleeps and her own personal bubble of space narrows down to a few square metres. when she leaves the pool she does so with a notepad gingerly wrapped in plastic, washes her hair over the bathroom sink so as to not wake her housemates and begins planning out.

(they never ask what’s under her facade and she never tells them)

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