Chapter 12

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For the second day in a row, Nelson woke before the alarm rang. He stayed in bed and turned around, staring at his phone on the nightstand, waiting for the usual ringtone.

As the minutes passed, a smile crossed his lips. I'm cured, he thought, savoring the words. He placed both hands on his face and laughed. "I'm cured," he said aloud, his smile growing.

I can finally go back. Back into the pools, to the world where I belong. The thought seemed somewhat surreal for the swimmer. All the pain, all those days when I could barely move and wanted to give up... when I just wanted it to end it all... everything is behind now. Now I'll I need, all I have to rely on is my own hard work, he thought, opening and closing his hands.

The moment the alarm rang, his hand flew to get the phone and turned it off in just seconds. He stood up at once, washed his face in the bathroom and changed into his workout clothes. It feels somewhat different from yesterday, Nelson thought as he looked at his reflection.

After jogging, I'll go eat something and then... what? He stopped as he put on his shoes and stared at nothing. I don't have physiotherapy anymore...

Sometime after he took off the cast on both legs, his everyday life was pretty much same. Nelson would wake up, work on the warm-ups and exercises the physiotherapist had given him, eat breakfast, go to physiotherapy all morning, eat lunch and then spend the afternoon on different treatments depending on the day.

As he got better and started to move without the need of a cane, the physiotherapist began adding a few exercises. The morning light jogging, a few pushups and crunch ups here and there and then half hour on the bike. All while taking it easy, as the doctor insisted in reminding. But now that I think about it, all that was also to make sure my physical form didn't go to the trash. I was starting to fat up. What would Cris say if he saw those pics? Nelson wondered, laughing.

But soon he stopped laughing, the smile vanishing from his lips. Today is truly a different day. I don't have physiotherapy anymore... Instead of happy, he felt the anxiety filling him. What should I do? Talk with my couch is a given, but what else? How about the personal trainer? He'll need to make a new routine for me, right? I also need to check up the next competitions. Since my rank is so low, I'll probably have to start competing at state level again. Or even at municipal level...

Nelson shook his head. That doesn't matter at all... Even if I have to get back at the municipal level, as long as I can swim, as long as there's a way, I'll reach the top again. All I need is time. Yes, with time... But do I have that? My contract expires next year. How many competitions do I have until then?

He tried counting on his fingers, but he had forgotten. Damn it. He picked up his phone and started searching it. As Nelson's mind worked more and more, the anxiety grew. His breathing became fast and short and his heart beat faster as he waited both the Brazil's and Pernambuco's water sports federations to load.

But before he could check the future competitions, his phone rang with a call. Who could it be at this hour? Despite the cold room, he cleaned the sweat from his face before answering. "Hello?" he said in a dry hoarse.

"I knew you'd be up. What's up with that voice? Are you pretending to be Batman so early?" a drowsy and familiar voice joked on the other side. Then the person let out a big yawn. "I had a strong suspicion, but now I'm sure. You really are one of those weird people who can and actually like waking up early."

Nelson opened his mouth, but instead of words, he let out a chuckled. With a few jokes, he already made all my anxiety go away, the swimmer thought, smiling. "Hey, Cris. To what do I owe the pleasure? Perhaps you're calling to say you gonna jog with me again? I thought it was a once in a lifetime deal, but I'll gladly accept your company." As he said the words, Nelson realized he really meant those words. Everything's more fun with him around.

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