I was so excited about meeting a new group of friends that day. Excited, nervous, insecure. I had been living in this new country for a year and I still felt slightly out of place. This was my chance to fit in! I went out in a panic to buy a new bikini, terrified that my old togs wouldn’t be good enough for this new crowd. Boardshorts? A cover up? Tiny bikini? It felt disastrous trying to make this monumental purchase at 4pm on a Sunday.
I made my way nervously out of the changing room clutching a towel around me, unsure what I was going to see on the other side. I clearly remember seeing him for the first time. The others were darker, more tanned with a lot more body hair, I remember thinking blond hair suited him – I don’t normally go for blonds, so this in itself was odd. He had amazing abs! Introductions were made and we went into the water, awkwardly chatting and laughing. For an hour he didn’t address me, make eye contact or do anything that could be considered social. Finally, the others all paired up and started – how do I put this delicately – sucking face? We were the only two who were alone.
I built up my courage, was preparing to ask him a question, start some sophisticated conversation (Shut up, you can do that in a pool dammit), I took a couple of deep breaths (my gut was churning with shyness), turned around and saw: nothing. He wasn’t there. I’d definitely heard him! where the hell had he gone? I looked around in the dark pool and finally spotted an arm with a bunched fist moving around in the water zig-zagging like a shark fin. What the? It did, however, provide me with the perfect conversational opener when he finally came up for air.
‘What are you doing?’
‘Oh. I’m playing periscope.’
It took me another 5 minutes to work out that he was just as shy as I was. It took us another 18months to work out what we wanted. A further 6 months to get settled. Within a few years I knew I’d found my soulmate. I’m often shocked, suprised, a little scared that it happened so young.
Seven years later he still plays periscope and I’m pretty sure he always will. I’ll always be there to watch him, shaking my head in wonder.