The Day of the Jackhole

The Day of the Jackhole

Celebrating 40 years on this earth

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1987. Fast and furious.

September 27, 2011

Tom Cruise. Bruce Willis. Johnny Depp. I plaster their pictures over everything (though I still have a thing for Michael J. Fox.) Slight crushes on pretty people. Long hot summers in cotton school uniforms. Year 10. I’m a grown up now. Behavior suggests otherwise.

I am at the school swimming carnival at the Tamworth Municipal Swimming Pool. The yearly deal. There is some sort of house race for points thing. I am in MacQuarie. It is the red house. The heats are on! I am lining up for the 50 meter sprint. I get on my block. I hunch over. Tense and nervous in my belly. The water glistens and winks at me as the anticipation for the gun hangs above it. *BANG!*

I dive in. I am Dawn Fraser. This dive, it is as perfect as a koan. The water is clear and cool and fast and I slice through it, arms chops. Feet egg-beat. I feel as a dolphin must, cutting through the tide.

Fast, smooth, precise. I breathe. I have never swum this hard in my life. This is my moment.

I hit the wall and pop up to look to my left, toward all the other lanes as the rush of my wake catches up and slaps on the wall.

I am last.

I am always last.

I spend the rest of the day doing what teenage girls at swim carnivals do in the 80s. I work on my tan using baby oil and look at shirtless teenage boys. I lie on a towel and let my back take the brunt of this ozone-less sky. I eat ice-creams and giggle with my friends. Later, I walk down the main street and feel extreme pain from these Masseur ‘invigorating’ sandals that I begged my mother to buy because everyone has them. (Though I’m a little confused now as to why anyone would want to walk around on what seems to be a bed of plastic nails.)

I don’t mention the pain to Mum.

A bit later, while sitting in the car, I realize that the pain in my feet is not from the sandals, but because the soles of my feet are sunburnt from lying on my belly for most of the day.


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