The call

May 9th, 2018 / by / in: Uncategorised / No responses

In my experience, congratulatory voicemails are usually from O2. Their bolt-on deals seem to know no bounds. I was on a jam-packed bus and it sounded similar. Short and punchy, unreservedly upbeat. I waited until my stop before replaying it on loudspeaker to check what the hoo-ha was all about.

A few weeks earlier I had stumbled upon a competition for an open water swim and thought I’d give it a shot. What’s more, to get a place I didn’t even have to swim – I just had to write about it. Words flooded from my fingertips and I clicked ‘Submit’ feeling like I’d probably over-shared and would never hear back from the super sporty people behind Henley Swim.

I turned up the volume – this voicemail was definitely for me. A cheery lady asked if I had checked my inbox lately? I had won a place to swim a mile in the Thames on 15th July. The all-important ‘congratulations’ email had taken a wrong turn and landed in my Junk mail. The voice asked if I still wanted to go ahead with it. Of course! my tongue replied.

My initial reaction of ‘wow!’ soon became a wowed ‘how?’ which then shrunk to a ‘yikes’.

A swimming training plan arrived in my inbox and the ‘yikes’ was under control. All I had to do was get to the pool three times a week for the next three months. I was already a regular swimmer, just not a Swimmer.

At long last the 2018 dog calendar had its use. I tore off the cellophane and plotted the swims with a highlighter, feeling more organised than anxious. In fact, this was the first time I’d written out such a smart plan since my A Levels – and even then it was to pass the time. A smug crossbreed sat back on my desk, chuffed with its new position, curious to see how long I would last.

Arun Kumar photography


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