Chris didn’t think anything of it. It was just what he did. Two hours a day, six days a week. He thought that was how everyone lived. Or should live. What else was there to do with time but fill it with purpose? Better than wasting it. “You’re very determined.” That’s what she threw at him. Just as he was pulling himself out of the water. Didn’t even introduce herself. He’d seen her before, sitting in the stands. But he’d never made the connection, that she was there for him. Why should he? She’d never smiled, never spoke. Just sat there, shirt untucked from her skirt, hair a mess, black leather jacket at her side.
“Hey, I’m talking to you. Have you got things in your ears? Like those plugs those synchronised swimmers put on their noses?”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
But she put her fingers on her nose and pinched so he shook his head.
“It’s not determination,” he said. She stops, her fingers frozen on the bridge of her nose. “It’s practice.”
“Oh” she says and her voice comes out funny. She lets go of her nose and laughs.
“Did you happen to be counting?” he asks. “Was that the 10th or 11th?” The corners of her mouth settle back into seriousness. “Actually it was the 12th.”
As he walks past to get to the board, she says, “You want to watch that arch in your back.” He turns and sees a smile in her eyes. (250 words)
(Prompt: determined, from oneword.com)