by Virgilio Piñera
Translated by Daniel W. Koon
I have learned to swim on dry land. It turns out to be better than doing it in the water. There is no fear of sinking because you are already at the bottom, and by the same logic, you are already drowned beforehand. You also avoid having to be fished out by the light of a lantern or in the dazzling light of a beautiful day. Finally, the absence of water keeps your body from swelling up.
I am not going to deny that swimming on dry land resembles the agony of dying. At first glimpse one would imagine that you are in the throes of death. Still, it is quite different: at the same time that you are fighting off death you are quite alive, quite alert, hearing the music that comes in through the windows and watching the worm that is crawling along the ground.
At first my friends disapproved of my choice. They evaded my glance and cried secretly. Fortunately, that crisis has passed. Now they know that I feel comfortable swimming on dry land. Occasionally I dip my hands into the marble tiles and hand them a tiny fish which I have trapped in the underwater depths.