[28/11/2016-4/12/2016]                                                                                                         Entry No.4

Title of Post: Beyond the Past

The heat of the scorching sun radiated from above, onto my bare skin; the warm, gentle breeze on my face; I pressed my cold hands onto my bare thighs, just below my swimming trunks as I realized all these supposedly trivial sensations were becoming clear as day to me. Things I wouldn’t normally notice, the rustling of my hair due to the winds and that slight itch on the back of my hand that wouldn’t go away no matter how long I scratched it, became more noticable by the second.

Before me, was a bright blue body of chlorinated water fixated in shape by a deep, Olympic-sized indentation on the face of the earth. On the other hand, behind me is my past, the very past that, like how the pool shapes the water, shaped me to be who I am today.

With a submitted personal best of 27 seconds for the 50m freestyle event, I was placed in the final heat, alongside the best swimmers in the state. These people had been competing on this level for a long time now and were known for their abilities to swim really well. In comparison, I was merely a no-name, someone not worth knowing because for all they knew, I lied about my personal best. But what they thought about me was not important. No, not on my last inter-school competition as a swimmer.

I adjusted my goggles and pressed on them, squeezing air out of them as a plumber would a plunger. As the shrill whistle rang loudly and echoed across the pool, I stepped forward, towards the starting board.

On the starting board, I readied myself and closed my eyes. I felt my eyes roll to the back of the head, and focused on the situation at hand. Come to think about it, I could remember the innumerable times I had stood on a starting block, ready to leap into the cold, hard water. I remembered all the training I had gone through, and for an instant, I rued my life.

If I could list out all the things I have regretted in that single instance, the list would be enough to fill three phone books, five dictionaries and a set of Brittanica Encylopedias. There were so many things that I didn’t do, and just so little things that went right in my life. I couldn’t break into the top 50 ranking of my secondary school; I screwed up that ‘D’ note on my trumpet solo that one time during an international band festival; I couldn’t muster the courage to speak to my crush about my feelings, just to name a few. I didn’t live the youthful life as I had envisioned it to be. My school life wasn’t as epic as the many anime I had binge-watched at home, nor was it adventurous like the fanciful tales of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.

I felt something well up from within me as the referee’s voice blared out through the speakers: “On your mark.” I swallowed the sensation as I pulled myself back to achieve maximum potential energy.

While it is true I may not be perfect as I wanted myself to be, and there were things I couldn’t do in time, but who cares? What matters is the present and what I do right here, right now. Now, I am standing amidst the strong and I will give them my best shot, even if it means nothing to them. At least, ten years from now, I will not look back and regret not giving my best.

The inevitable final whistle rang across the pool and I took the cold, hard plunge into the water.

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