Fears, Frogs and Fate

Daniel stood on the edge of the pool. He looked down into the water. The deep end. He had had a fear of swimming since he was a child. It was all due to a horrible accident in the bath that he could now only vaguely remember, but was happy about that lack of detail. He was twenty-eight years old now and knew that he had to get over his fear. He never got in a boat. He wouldn't stand next to the edge of a bridge or the quays. He'd never go near any ledge with no wall that lead to a moist death. But that had to change. He had to grow up. So he decided he'd go to the swimming pool.

He was going to start off in the shallow end and move his way forward, but he knew he'd just stay at that end. If he was going to do this he'd have to jump in at the deep end, quite literally. So he stood there, staring into the deep, deep water. Well, just two and a half metres, but it may well have been the middle of an ocean for Daniel. After ten minutes he finally built up the confidence to dive in. He took a step back and leaped forward, head first.

His body pierced the surface of the water and plummeted toward the bottom of the pool. Daniel had his eyes closed, even though he had goggles on. He didn't trust them. For a short moment Daniel felt free. He'd overcome his fear. He could stumble home drunk along the quays, with their half metre high wall. Then something changed. Daniel stopped plummeting.

He'd reached the bottom.


Daniel had managed to smash his face right into the bottom of the pool. The pain was extreme. He classed among the top five most painful things that had ever happened to him. He opened his mouth and let out a muted scream from the bottom of the pool. He opened his eyes to see the bubbles rise from his mouth, swirling the blood from his nose around. The goggles moved from all his panicking and the chlorine water-blood combination started to seep into his eyes. He started flailing and tried to make it to the surface. It was no use. Daniel lost consciousness while still under the water.

The next thing Daniel knew he was in a toilet cubicle. The door went from the ceiling to the floor, no gaps. He was very confused. He was still in his swimming trunks, but he was fully dry. His nose didn't hurt either. He looked at the door and noticed that there was no latch. No way to get out. After two hours of Daniel trying various methods of escape, including an attempted recreation of that scene from Trainspotting, a frog climbed out of the toilet and started to talk to Daniel.

He told Daniel that he was going to bring him back to the swimming pool. Back to the moment before he dived in. All Daniel had to do was promise to dive in again. Daniel was still very confused from his being in an inescapable toilet, so he heard the frog out. He asked the frog who he was and how he could do these things. The frog wouldn't answer, he only told Daniel that he had to get over his fear of swimming, but the future depended on his nose not getting broken from it. Daniel decided to give it a shot, given that his other choice was eternal life in a toilet.

Daniel was suddenly standing at the edge of the pool again. He thought about whether he should keep his promise to the frog or not. Then he realised he was thinking about a talking frog. He concluded that he must have just been thinking about the whole nose-breaking thing before diving in. He was about to leave, but caught a glimpse of the toilet inside the changing rooms. He decided he'd go for it. He dived in again, this time trying not to descend so fast.

It worked. Daniel was swimming. He was over his fear. His nose was intact. He was happy. He swam in circles, ellipses, ovals and the occasional rhombus. He was thrilled. Then it happened.

He hit the wall.


Daniel had now managed to swim directly into the wall of the pool. He still had his eyes closed the whole time, believing the goggles would fall off the second he opened his eyes. This pain was even worse than the last one. He could feel the water in front of his face thickening from the blood. He struggled to reach the surface again but was once more trapped in a toilet cubicle. The frog arrived straight away this time. He offered Daniel another go.

"And opened your damned eyes this time!" the frog told him.

Daniel was, for the third time, on the edge of the pool, looking down into the deep end. He dove in again and swam in joy. He was wondered how long he'd have to swim for? "The rest of the session would probably be enough for the frog," he thought. He had his eyes open from just after he hit the water and made sure to steer clear of any and all walls. He was swimming through the deep water, enjoying the view from his goggles. Then he felt something.


Daniel's nose broke. It just – broke. From swimming. He wasn't even swimming that fast. It was starting to get ridiculous at this point. This didn't make any sense to Daniel. Or, at least, it wouldn't make sense to Daniel once he had a chance to think about it, but right now he was more focused on the pain, which was more painful that the first one to the power of the second one. That's a lot of pain.

So, as Terminator 3 has taught us, you can't change your fate. Oh well.