This essay originally appeared in Volume Three of our print magazine—available for purchase here.

  1. Until night falls, busy yourself beforehand. Carry on normally: drink, drive, eat, have sex. Eventually venture into darkness, winsome and wandering.

  2. Above all else, don't seek but stumble: the pool should announce itself to you as a shiver, a shudder, a thrill down your spine.

  3. Deeply inhale.

  4. Admire it's emptiness; embrace the unusualness of the scene. Understand the breach you're about to embark upon.

  5. Survey your surroudings: identify any entrances and determine all exits. Remember that foolishness is only fun when unwanted outcomes can be avoided.

  6. Allow your adrenaline to surge. Imagine a tide, the only apt metaphor here.

  7. Hoist yourself over the fence. As you straddle the border, that interstice above civility, chide any companions too cowardly to follow suit.

  8. On the other side, land lightly and undress quickly. Slide into the water; feel the liquid on your skin. Revel in your peaceful, private, public pool.

  9. As the surface ripples, emulate stillness or serenity. Rest your neck against the side's concrete lip. Or float there, your ear an actual canal.

  10. Stay submerged: tread the length of the pool or swim just one lap. Soak until your fingertips wither into wrinkled fruit. Bask in whatever emotions (fear, anxiety, elation, desire) arise.

  11. Re-emerge, gracefully or giddily. Notice how cool air and damp skin commingle.

  12. Quickly, don't dally.

  13. Jump up and down; shake like a mutt; fling any wetness away. Collect your clothing, still a mess on the floor. Scale the lifeguard stand (you only escape route); soar back to safety.

  14. Stand there, stunned and soaking. Rub your eyes; revel in disbelief. Bike or walk or drive home. Smile yourself to sleep.

  15. In daylight, second guess your antics. Even your sanity. Awake with the crunch of chlorine still clinging to your hair.