A humorous account of the love affair between Nick Mevoli and his monofin. Nick is currently tied for second place at this year’s Individual World Freediving Championships in Kalamata, Greece.
Note: This is a love affair. The content may not be appropriate for all audiences.
Hello my old friend. I haven’t seen you in a while. We’ve been through a lot together, two national records, multiple disappointments. You’ve seen several surgeries and multiple cosmetic peels. I cut you, burned you, and heated you up, molten hot and jammed my foot inside to get a custom fit. Some have told me that it’s time for a new one but after so much how can I just throw you away. The pros call you funny looking. They call you heavy and they call you old fashioned, but never mind them. Never mind their cruel words. I slip inside you anyways. That initial pain. My feet have never been the same since I first met you.
Do you remember when we first met? It was a cold day in February. I was on Fifth Avenue and 76th street. My boss told me that you had arrived at work that afternoon. The anticipation was killing me. I had to wait for you to be delivered to where I was working from the office and my God the day dragged on, waiting, waiting waiting for you. At the end of the night around 7:00pm when work was finished I walked to the mobile production office. The production assistants refused to carry you because they said you were too heavy. I was almost running, I was moving so fast. The door opened and she looked at me, knowing what I had come for. You were wrapped in a canvas sack. No fancy package, no bows, no ribbons, just a return address to the Ukraine and a locked wire at the top.
“What the hell is it?” she asked with a dominate tone.
“Monofin!” I exclaimed. My feet, were moving ahead of my body and out of the door. You in tow. “You’re what? Never mind! Prop guy weirdo,” she said under her breath.
Standing on the back of the prop truck my boss and colleagues looked on puzzled. They had never seen me so excited before. I asked for a knife and cut the top of the canvas bag you were in off. It took some effort to remove you as you were wrapped in foam and many layers of plastic. Once I finished, there we stood. Both of us speechless, I held you in my arms and it was love at first sight. I jumped up and down. It was Christmas! White hair old ladies strolling home arm and arm from some diamond crusted social event dragged their fluffy white dog to the other side of the street aghast at the commotion I was making. My colleagues laughed at me, not quite knowing what to make of such an odd couple, so in love and so public.
“So what, you’re a mermaid now?” Doro asked. “Merman!” I corrected him.
“Ok let’s go home,” my boss said. “I’ve had about enough of this crap,” she said as she closed the gate to the truck. The teamsters came around to see what the yelling was about. “What the heck is that?” they asked. “He’s a mermaid,” Doro said. “Sorry, merman.” “Is that the auto asphyxiation stuff you do?” Vinny the teamster asked. “Ha ha ha ha. Our Nicky boy here is going to break some records or some junk with that fin. How deep is the record you’re training for? 300 feet?” Vinny laughed. His skeptical smirk loaded with another comment. “He’ll get it. I know you will Nick. Now get the hell off my truck. I want to go home,” Vinny said. Donny, our teamster gave me a pat on the back with a firm push off the lift gate of the truck.
Standing in the middle of the street, I was so in love and lost, I wanted to show the world my new bride, you! I didn’t even bother to put you back into the bag or foam. I started walking for the subway with Doro. I had a pocket full of cash, that weekend I had won the super bowl pool at work. I had won it all. A wedding gift for us. Over 5 G’s in my pocket, there was no way I was going to bring you into that filthy rat hole of a subway, no way! “Doro, we are taking a cab!” I yelled as I hailed one down. The cabbie didn’t even bat an eyelash at us. Probably the least of the weird he’d seen that night. “To Brooklyn, my good man,” I said.
The pool was still open and I knew it. I burst up my stairs, under apnea of course and into my apartment. My friend Jana was visiting. We danced together for her, you remember, on clouds. I let her hold you while I ditched my tool bag and grabbed my swimming bag. She seemed a little jealous that I didn’t put up such a fuss about her arrival, she just didn’t understand it at the time. “Let’s go! Pool’s open for another half hour,” I informed Jana.
In the locker room at the pool the men were skeptical, quizzical, and only one dared to asked about you. The other awkward hipsters had no clue what you were and were too afraid to admit it. Again, same line of questions as earlier at work but this time from David. “What’s that?” he asked.
“For freediving right? That’s so cool.”
“Yeah I can’t wait to get in the water.” I slammed the metal door of my locker and spun the combo lock.
“Um Nick…” I was thinking Dave was going to ask if he could try you but instead, “You’re swimsuit’s inside out,” he said. I looked down and sure enough, as often as lovers do in the heated rush of the first time I had put my speedo on wrong.
The lanes churned with turbulence. The pool was at capacity with late day swimmers, breast stroking it up. I dipped you into the water, for the first time and made you wet. The water rolled from your black blade and dripped back into the pool. Things went into slow motion as the moment I had been waiting for for so long was finally coming true. You were the last piece of the puzzle. You were the key to making all my training worth it. You were expensive and worth every penny. I struggled to slip inside you. I splashed more water onto my feet, wiggled them from side to side, pulled and turned red in the face until finally I was in. It was tight, just like they said it would be on all those internet sights I read before buying you.
Sitting on the edge of the pool the circle of swimmers rounded the corner while I waited for my opportunity to merge into their wake. With one huge breath we were off. Our first swim. It was quiet, long, and exhilarating. I had never felt like this before. With such little thrust I was flying below all those surface dwellers, breathing all that air, using their feet and hands like suckers. The moment seemed to last forever but before I knew it it was over.
The pool session had ended with our consummation. Now you were mine forever. I knew there would be others but you would never be replaced.
On the walk home the air was cool and crisp. I held you naked under my arms. I held you close, never wanting to let you go, never wanting this moment to end. The sky was clear, stars were bright for Brooklyn. I was standing on the precipice of a new horizon. How deep we’d go together I didn’t know then and still don’t know now. I know we’ve seen many countries together in our short history, you’ve been with me to the deepest depths. How can I quit you?
On our trip here to Croatia the baggage handlers damaged you, putting a 3cm crack on your blade. I sent you to have surgery by a foreign hand. He botched the blade patch and I decided to amputate the 3.7cm’s straight across. They said it was risky. They said I shouldn’t drink so much beer before I cut. They said I was crazy but now I sit on the stern of the dive boat on the verge of another diving adventure, the World Championships. My feet inside you, dipping you into the Adriatic’s cool waters. I am in love again and you feel great.
Post by Nick Mevoli
All commentary and opinions in this post are exclusively of the author, Nick Mevoli. They do not reflect the opinions of the USFA or any other associated organizations or people mentioned.