“Can I borrow your board?” I asked. “For just one lap?”

The older man in the lane beside had left his board unused by the edge of the pool.

He thought a minute. “Leave it down at the other end after you’re done. I’ll pick it up after I do my next laps.”

I thanked him and finished my swim. Leaving later after my sauna, I saw him huffing his last lap.

“You look like you’re doing good,” I said.

He gave a tired half-smile, “I can’t swim, but I can exercise. That’s why I do this.”

“It’s just a matter of putting in the time,” I said.

He told me about his playing handball. I told him I’d never played, but I had done racket ball.

“I can’t raise my right arm, shoulder got hurt from all the playing. Now I’m learning how to play with my left. And doing this swimming for the exercise.”

“Funny,” I said, “I’m starting to feel old. Just today I was stretching and hurt myself a little just from that!…before I’d even done any of my workout.”

He gave me a look. “How old are you?”

“Forty,” I said.

He shook his head, “I was born in 1939.”



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