It took a lot of persuasion to get me into water. Once in, though, I wanted to do better than others, and started doing my lessons diligently. Soon I was off in the pool, doing short distances and then longer stretches. I imitated a champion swimmer who had a showy style of stroking and soon attracted a few kudos myself. I started to like swimming.
Years later I was in Hong Kong with a friend and we took a steamer ride around the bay in a charming wine and Dim Sum tour. After the meal, we walked to the end of the deck and she pointed to the wake with her goblet and said something about the glorious sunset. I did not hear it, for I was distracted. I was looking at the gushing, frothing water and thinking: You frightened me once, but I know now you are a friend and you can be wonderful.