“Watch!”: Time Flies

Why wait?It’s ninety-one degrees at four p.m. on Spring Boulevard. I’m sitting in my bathing suit with my laptop across my thighs, feet propped on the chair across from me. A fan sways side-to-side, blowing flies away from a bowl of watermelon slices and pretending to cool the air around me.

This place is familiar. For more than thirty years, I’ve come here on vacation. The magnolia trees, alive with the whir of cicadas, now tower above pool. I remember when the scrawny things were planted, and barely reached over the fence that keeps the deer and wild turkeys out.

I swam laps under the mid-day sun and enjoyed a raft battle with my fourteen-year-old. It seems like I was here yesterday teaching him how to swim. He sported a pair of water wings for a while, now, a dark, bristly mustache sprouts out from under his scuba mask. I watched him dive to the bottom and wondered how many times I had yelled, “watch!” before I swam to the depths of this very same pool.

Memories flickered in the flashes and splashes of sun and water. My siblings and cousins, waterlogged and joyful bucking or gliding across the shallows, with another on their back in a game we’d invented about carousel animals. I saw them, sashaying or preening their way down the diving board in our endless diving pageants. Marco Polo and volleyball were favorites, as was night swimming. It was a treat when the parents would join in our games.

My son whined in his now deepening voice, “you never come in,” and I splashed him from my raft. My mom rarely went in. She was busy making bologna sandwiches in the kitchen, or reading a novel under the umbrella. There was that time, though, at a family wedding, when she jumped off of the diving board in her fancy dress and joined the others bobbing around in their finery.

I feel my mother smiling at me.

I know my dad would like to be floating on the rafts with us in the sun, rather than lying all but paralyzed in a bed at a nursing facility. I wonder if he’ll get to see this place again.

It’s lonelier here now. Quiet.

Two monarch butterflies dance above the roses and flutter between the magnolia blossoms.

I’m jumping back in the pool. I don’t know how many more chances I’ll have.


Dive in!



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