He invited me to the swimming pool for a dip. I pondered over my bikini of too many low-cut bits. I could not think of myself at Bishopbriggs in such a strip. The name suggested a stronghold of monks that a monastic vein in my heart had always cherished. I deliberated over the matter with a troubled wit then decided that my Mediterranean olive skin would let me get away with it, a foreigner’s ignorance of sartorial etiquette.
I wait at the post office with my usual fortitude, a hereditary habit. It is my first date, and being twenty-two years old, I feel ill-prepared for it. My watch sneers at my repeated inspection of its fast-moving orbit. My toes, a pair of claws, tenaciously cling to the cobblestone of a frosting pavement. The recollection of his courteous mien has hindered my resolve to preserve my dignity by heading back home without the anticipated appointment. I tarry trying to figure out what has gone wrong with the arrangement. Perhaps my ears had misconstrued his Scottish accent. My blood grows thick, too thick to flow with a surge of disappointment, then my pulse flutters with resurrected excitement.
His face beams with a self-gratifying joy upon seeing me transfixed to the spot despite the icy cold that has recently hit, then, with a few warm apologies, he drives me to the swimming pool at Bishopbriggs. We are supposed to be courting, but the first thing that catches my eye is the sign Please No Petting. Everything is very transparent to an embarrassing extent. There are no waves to provide my semi-nudity with a little lid. No salt to lick. The sun only blinks through the glass that separates Glasgow’s frost from two inmates, fire-lit. He mumbles something in my ear that has to do with a wish to see my top burst open, while maintaining the decent distance, the limit. I look at my flimsy closet, splashed with chlorine water and with whatever from the stalactites of my face had dripped. Demurely timid, I smile at the owner of the compliment and scan with newly opened eyes the charms of a highlander who is neither cool nor tepid. He is in a hurry. I am not, but I have to quit the pool before I even digest the idea of being physically attracted to him. Chemistry is to be deferred to another visit. I try to dry my ebony and very long hair in a white hall, very much like a hospital’s, full of lockers and the repulsive odor of disinfectant. No sun to lick the dew that still lingers on my arms or my forehead. He is impatiently waiting in the café, probably worrying about some urgent business commitment. I apologize for being late, but refrain from any contrasts with my swimming feats in the southern east. He offers me a snowball chocolate to sweeten the bitter taste of the pool’s liquid. Snowballs will always be associated with this ephemeral date.