Years of unhappiness taught me to hate water. I associated it with only tears and that feeling of drowning that would engulf me as I lay in bed trying to sleep each night.
So at seventeen it made perfect sense to move to Galway to study, one of the wettest cities in the country. A city famous for rain, ironically never made my tears rain down like they used to. Maybe Galway is my Irish oasis, my place of refuge from the surrounding land I had grown to hate, and in turn allowing my love of water to grow once more. Surrounded by water I let my ambitions flow with the ferocity of the River Corrib as I sit by the Spanish Arch. I let the waves at Salthill carry my worries across the Atlantic to a foreign land I will probably never visit.
Walking through the Kingfisher I inhale the smell of chlorine and remember a young swimmer, never the best, neither strong nor fast; but happy. A little girl who would float in the water, making up stories in her head she would later write down. A little girl who would swim with her body pressed against the bottom of the pool without feeling the weight of the world on top of her. A little girl who could swim a lap without ever feeling like she couldn’t breathe. Happy, free and uninhibited; a little girl who didn’t know what it felt like to drown.
Galway is slowly making me learn to love water again.
Maybe it’s because I no longer sleep on a tear soaked pillow. Or because I’m gradually learning how to remove the fog that once held me down under the waves of thought in my head.
Galway, a city famous for the wet and rain, is slowly bringing back to life a little girl who loved to swim.