It was Sunday, the last day of my swim window. I had changed my flight for a slim, VERY slim chance of swimming tomorrow. But I dreaded calling my pilot, Philip Rush. DREADED it. “I’ll call him at 9:30am, Mum.” 9:30am came and went. “No, no, no, I’ll just call him at 11am, I just want to wait a bit… besides, he would just call me if my swim is on, wouldn’t he??” I felt like I’d been out on a date with the man of my dreams and I was waiting, DESPERATELY, for him to just call me. The silence was deafening.
I needed to get it over and done with, I knew that, but I just didn’t want finality. I didn’t want to make the call and accept reality; tomorrow would be the last possible chance for me to swim before flying back to San Francisco on Tuesday. The farm is at least a 5 hour drive from Wellington and I knew Philip knew that. He would have called me by now, I told myself. It was over. I recalled the times when my training had become quite grueling. The focus. The mental and physical energy that was required to get me to this point was immense, and now I felt defeated. I couldn’t help but feel as though it was for nothing. Nothing at all.
At the urging of my Mum, I picked up the phone. “Hi, you’ve reached Phil, leave me a message.” GOOD LORD. Voicemail??? Ugh. He would have called me by now if my swim was on. My swim is over. OVER.
Minutes later an unexpected sense of calm swept over me. Ever since I recovered from my leg injury, I’ve become a firm believer in the old saying “if it's meant to be, it’s meant to be.” And deep down I knew that this was just meant to be. I simply wasn’t supposed to swim the Cook Strait - this time. Now I got to spend another couple of days home on the farm with my family. It was a blessing in disguise. And I was finding peace in knowing that.
I sit outside in the sun, next to my Mum’s corgi, Macy Grey. Mum is baking an apple cinnamon shortcake, and the deliciously familiar smell wafts outside. God I love being home.
The phone rings. Its 2:38pm, my Dad answers the phone. “Kimberley!!!!! It’s Philip Rush on the phone!!!!”
My heart starts racing. “Hi Philip.” “Hi Kimberley… what are you doing right now?” “Oh, I’m just sitting outside in the sun here on the farm.” Then silence. SILENCE. It seems like minutes. “What are you thinking?” I ask hesitantly. “Well, what I’m thinking is… what I'm thinking is that I’m gonna need you down here in Wellington!”
OMG. OMG. Apparently I was thinking aloud, because the next thing I know Philip is saying “Just relax. R-E-L-A-X… I can hear it in your voice.” BUSTED.
He tells me to take my time, grab a cup of tea with Mum and Dad, and slowly make my way down to Wellington. It looks like there is about a 12 hour window of time tomorrow for me to complete my swim. “But you have to be done in 12 hours, ok? Because then weather is going to be shit again. And I mean REAL shit," warns Philip.