Tiled Walls | Teen Ink

Tiled Walls MAG

By Anonymous

   No matter how many laps had beenswum to relax her heartbeat, she could still feel that muscle keeping her alive,beating in precise rhythm as she walked toward the locker-room door. Squeezingher latex cap in her fist and feeling her goggle strap entangled in her fingers,she pulled open the silver door to hear the pounding of the showers on the tilefloor.

Walking into the hot mist, she began to feel the perspiration onher neck she knew had been there throughout her workout, but had been masked bythe cool water. Glancing at the floor, she noticed her bubble-gum toenail polishhad chipped away, taking with it the perfection her toes once had. Her bare feetpressed against the discolored tiles which had a comforting neutral glow.Entering the surge of the shower, she pulled her fingers through her drenchedhair. She breathed in deeply the humidity, as if to take comfort from the entirescene. The voices and laughter that echoed across the tiled walls were sofamiliar they seemed almost like her own. Sliding her tongue across her chappedlips, she realized that the bitter taste of chlorine had become an almostsoothing flavor.

Soon, the aroma of too many shampoos filled the air,taking over her senses. Leaning into the powerful flow of pins-and-needles, shelet the water massage her back, though it perpetuated the stinging of chlorineembedded in her skin. She closed her eyes and let the stream of water relax everymuscle and wash every thought and concern far from her mind.

When she returned to the real world of those four tiled walls, she stepped out ofthe shower into the cool air of the locker room, causing the hair on her arms toawake. Rushing past the rows of rusty blue metal lockers to hers, she was soonwrapped in the comfort of her towel. Tossing her cap and goggles into the bottomof her locker, she glanced at the inside of her door, filled from corner tocorner with bright magazine photos and colorful "pump-up" notes fromher seniors to hide the years of wear, chipped paint and rusted metal.

Stretching her towel across her arms, she soaked up the drops of watersliding across her skin that had long ago lost its tanned glow. Blinking awaydrops from her eyelashes, she looked around. Surrounding her on every side,cramped between the rows of lockers were her teammates, the girls who knew moreabout her than she would ever know. She knew that the overwhelming comfort wouldnever change. Those feelings would always be there, within those tiled walls,always the same. After all, perfection always seems to remain the same.

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