A broken sun is shining in pieces, floating in the cold water – a net of turquoise and glittering gold sparkles. In fact it is not cold, it is refreshing. All my muscles, in the effort of pushing me against the waves, are cooled by its gentle touch. The shore is fading like a Fata Morgana after almost half hour of hard swimming – the still visible bunch of palms is no larger than a discreet bouquet on a yellow plate of sand. I was assured of no sharks swarming on this planet, and I am keeping my promise of training heavily.
Even with all this effort I still have a feeling of cheating. It is more like a holiday, in fact many short holidays spread on different planets and landscapes people cannot even dream at, none of them longer than one day. Probably I am still not prepared enough for longer endeavours, I forgot to ask if there is anything else dangerous, apart sharks, in these exotic waters – another bad mark in Houston’s notes for sure: “When you are in this kind of travel you have to pay attention to the environment.” The whip burns on my shoulders are still lingering within my mind so I whisper softly as looking for soothe: longer they are more dangerous they are. I am sure that time will come one day, she is very good in calibrating my training. I sense each day a raise in the dosage oh effort I have to sustain. Still I cannot escape this cheating sentiment.
The strange monitoring watch at my wrist is giving the ‘go back’ signal and with slow strokes I turn my body with a sigh- the way back is always longer. I learned to plan my movements and I am doing it now automatically, four strokes with my head in the water, exhaling, then a raise over the water, inhaling. I did it thousands of times already. I hint of hunger start to grow in my mind, I put it aside, but after several strokes it finds again a road back. A short flash with the sandwiches waiting on the beach gave the signal that I have to quit fighting.
The feeling of the sun rays on the naked skin it is always a tingling delight happening when leaving the water, shivering and warmth in subtle and always different combinations. I have no swimming suit, the pleasure of having a full beach reserved only for myself, if I don’t count Houston of course. It is so good to be natural. Maybe I will ask her to plan my first mission on a primitive society where I can behave how I want with no social restrictions.
The back pack is empty! All the sandwiches I took in the morning are gone. Not even one biscuit left, and of course this only made me feel even hungrier. “Did you enjoy my food?” I asked her but no answer came back. A glance at my strange watch told me I still have one hour left from the usual four of the swimming sessions. I drank some water, at least the water was still there, and laid down on the chaise longue. I tried to read some chapters from my new favourite book “Survival in the Wild” waiting for the time to pass but felt asleep in the palms treacherous shadow.