Things in Dublin were getting fairer and fairer as the rainy spring days stretched themselves into long summer days; the bright, warming sun-shine was drawing the people out of their homes into the parks and beaches of the city.
But as the days were getting longer, Cory’s time in Dublin was getting shorter; his home was getting empty as he carefully wrapped up his collection of pint glasses and he found himself without as many entertainment choices as his Netflix subscription had been cancelled. Eager to get out of the house, he asked himself, “Is there anything in Dublin I haven’t yet done? Any Dublin doings that need doing?”
And there was. Cory hadn’t been to swim in one of Dublin’s sea-side swimming holes. He had seen the rocky swim beaches — even seen a bit too much flesh for comfort on a secluded spot at Howth — but had never jumped into the blue-gray waters with the brave bathers. “Let’s go to the Forty Foot!” he said to Sara. “You can take pictures — and hold my wallet! Let’s go to-day”
Sara said, “But it will be ever so cold! Are you sure?”
“Yes!” said Cory, “It’s just silly water; it can’t harm me!”
So on a sunny day, they went to the Forty Foot for Cory’s swim. The beach was quite a busy place; bathers of all ages and sizes splashed in the water and shivered, red-fleshed, on the rocks. “If those old-sters and teen-agers can do it, surely I can!” Cory said, confidently. Taking off his shirt, he felt the first stiff sea breeze. “Oh dear, I’ve goose-flesh already, but it must be better in the water — look at those happy swimmers!”
[RELATED: More about the Forty Foot in Sandycove Secrets]
He walked to the swimming steps, Sara right behind, fully clothed and care-free. When his feet met the first wave, Cory felt a shock of cold, then nothing — just a dead numb. Sara waved, saying, “Enjoy your swim! I will stay here and take your photo-graph, quite dry and warm, thank you very much!”
Cory took his next anxious step. “Gasp!” he gasped as the numbing sea splashed his calf, then his thigh. “I think I’ve lost my toesies!” He looked down to see that his toesies were still present, and they wiggled and piggled when he asked them to wiggle and piggle. Knowing that his aquatic adventure would have a very short time limit, he breathed to the bottom of his breath, and jumped.
“COLD! COLD! WAAAHH!” he shouted as politely and as bravely as he was able. Old-sters and teen-agers in the water looked on. But the shock passed, and the feeling quickly crept away from Cory from his neck to his fingers to his long-lost toesies. “I believe it’s time for me to re-surface,” he said, “I feel presently that I’m not long for this world.”
Sara greeted Cory at the sea steps. “I trust you had a pleasant and agreeable swim!” she said. Her smile turned topsy-turvy as Cory didn’t answer, but only walked, stiff-legged, to her and breathed in hurried, shallow breaths. Sara asked, with great concern, “Are you hurt? Did you bump your toesies?”
“C— C— Cold.” was all Cory could answer. His arms and legs had become as white as his swimming shortsies.
“Come and sit! Warm your-self! You are quite as cold as an ice-monger’s cellar!” Sara said as she guided Cory to a sunny seat. He sat and breathed as his white flesh turned pink — just as had that of the old-sters with swimming caps sitting nearby.
“I’m feeling quite well now!” Cory said after a few minutes’ time. “I’m going in again!”
And so he did. Two more times he joined his fellow bathers in a near-freezing dip, each time coming out paler and less able to speak. “I— I— think that will quite do, for now” he said after his third twenty-second swim. “My ears are burning, my fingers are curled and gnarled like those of a witch, and I cannot feel the touch of the towel you have so kindly draped round my shoulders.”
“That sounds like a wise plan, indeed” Sara said as she led clammy Cory away. “Would you fancy a frozen ice-cream?”
“‘Tis strange, but yes, somehow I do find myself craving a frozen ice-cream!” Said Cory. “Let us enjoy a sea-side sun-set cone while my feelings return!”