I don’t like swimming pools. I know not everyone cleans their ass as well as I do. But swimming a few laps works my body more than running, and water offers less resistance than concrete pavement.
The kids always take up the swim lane so I wait until the 15-minute rest period to get in the water. Today there were two women still hanging around in my lane, and since it was quiet I could hear them talking. They were speaking Portuguese, and most likely from Brazil.
I watched while I waited. One had to be in her 40’s, slowly wading through the lane getting just a bit of exercise, while the other, much younger, was still. She put her back against the concrete wall and placed her arms behind on the ledge, pushing her breasts out. I did want to see more, and I had the perfect excuse.
I moved slowly down the lane to where they were, slowly only because that’s how it is when you walk in water. Looking at both I said, “Mind if I share the lane so I can swim a couple laps?” There was silence. Maybe they don’t speak English, I thought, and I was ready to mime the act of swimming so they’d understand. But the older woman spoke. “Oh she doesn’t speak English. Sure go ahead.”
“Are you two from Brazil?”
“Yes we are.”
I told them I recognized the language, said a couple words that any gringo who has been to Brazil would know, smiled, and then went back to the other side of the pool to start my swim.
The concept is so logical but yet so foreign to me: meeting people in the neighborhood. That’s how most of the teenagers did it, anyway. I was always so focused on bars and clubs that god knows how many opportunities I missed right in front of my doorstep.
I did five brisk laps before I got tired and stopped at the other end of the pool, where the two Brazilians were already settled. I was right next to the older woman, and I don’t remember who started talking first, but it started. About her country, my country, marriage, life, food, girls, guys. Our observations about American culture were similar and not so positive, but we agreed that it’s easier to have a comfortable life here. You don’t need to be rich to have a car, apartment, a million channels and the like. We talked for one hour, the sun baking me much more than her light brown skin.
She told me so many funny stories that my cheeks became sore from laughing. One was about the younger girl wading nearby, the daughter of a close friend, who came to the U.S. only a couple months ago. Fresh off the boat, uncorrupted, and shy to speak the little English she knows. Her first day in this family pool she wore a thong bikini, got in the water, and was too embarrassed to come back out after catching everyone’s attention. “You know Brazilians, we don’t like clothes,” the woman said. Yes, I know.
The younger one had the Brazilian ass, of course—seemingly muscular, with a cute young face, long hair, and smooth olive skin. She’s from Florianopolis, if you happen to know the south of Brazil. I’d be surprised if she was over 22 or so, but I never asked. While I was talking to the older woman the girl got in my field of view. She pinched her nose and then leaned backwards into the water. She came back up and slowly wiped the water from her hair with her hands. The sun was shining so strong I could only see the outline of her face. But It was beautiful nonetheless. She was beautiful. I tried to pretend I wasn’t affected.
The older woman kept saying that I need to teach the girl English, and in exchange she will teach me Portuguese. I suggested that would be a fine idea, but was careful not to appear too eager. She could start teaching me numbers, I said, so I can understand when the clerk at the Brazilian store nearby tells me how much I owe. The woman even told me their address, telling me to stop by anytime.
If nothing comes of this it won’t be for lack of effort. I already know how I’m going to do it. I’m going to buy a two liter bottle of Guarana from the Brazilian store and take it to their place. They will invite me in, minutes will turn into hours, and if there is some attraction the rest will be inevitable. That’s how I imagine it anyway.
It seems cliche almost. Brazilian girls, sensual, sexual, open, different, warm. But my experiences do not lie. I know what is in store for me if I knock on that door. Some cultures build their women for men, and some do not.