Meet Me in the Deep End

The house I first tried to buy (but it was gone before I even had a loan) had a pool. I love pools, but I’m just as happy that I didn’t get it. I’d probably have never gotten around to going in the pool.

It’s dumb, but it seems like I need a deadline to even get that done. If I can go anytime, then I’ll go “later.” Or I won’t stay in very long, because I’m thinking of all the things I should be doing.

I like it better where I have to set a time (I like leaving the house an hour and a half before the pool closes) and grab my kid and whichever friends she’s invited, and get my butt over there, and then stay in the pool till the last second because by gum, I paid for this and also I won’t be able to swim again until at least tomorrow morning.

Swimming is such good exercise, and such fun. I like to hang out right around five feet, where I have to stand on tiptoe to stay above the water, and just bounce around and twirl and stuff. Sometimes I go in deeper, and have to actually put a wee bit of effort into staying afloat. I’ve been having a twinge in my side lately, though, and the unthinking movements of keeping myself in place in the water tend to make it hurt.

When that gets better, though, I’m looking forward to hanging out in the deep end. At my favorite of the city’s pools, sometimes they close the diving board and let people just go play in the 13-foot-deep section. That’s my favorite. I just love having that much water under me.

One summer the kid and I went swimming every single day. That was the year I enrolled her in every level of swim class, one after the other, and she spent much of the end of the summer hanging out on the bottom of our favorite pool with a fellow swim lessons graduate.

Today I reminded her of that summer and how she used to dive right when the lifeguard lifted his whistle to tell everyone it was time to get out of the pool. She’d come up and be alone in the pool, out there in the middle and apparently unable to see or hear anyone on the sides before she dove again…it’s one reason I tend to go to the pool an hour before it closes. I don’t want to be the only one trying to get her out of the water!

We’re a house-ful of mermaids, I think. In the desert. No wonder we get cranky. We should probably do everyone, ourselves included, a favor and spend more time in the nearest pool.

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Writer, mom, widow. Anything else is transitory.

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