I take to the streets barefaced, blotchy red like a skinned chicken. the Archway pool is a children’s leisure pool that some weekday mornings poses as a laned pool for professional swimmers. the men in the fast lane once held a noisy amateur competition, reminding me of the school game ‘blood coin’, where boys would shoot coins at each other’s knuckles until the blood stained their books just to avoid being called ‘gay’. but today the fast lane is empty and I make it all mine, sliding through like a proud eel, past the middle lane-men and beyond. the outside world is reduced to a dull blur that rests numb beneath the whirlpools, the dense mass of water.