She tells me childhood stories with pool water lapping around our mouths. Her words grow flippers and soar to the steel beams above. That lifeguard duo had prismatic baby blues. Cerulean so clear, their angular faces lost sight beneath water. Both brothers had the rock hard swagger of overtaxed muscle groups. One was older. One was younger. Those ass hard saunters along Raven Hall’s pool edge caused chlorinated girl gulping. Mouth to mouth was the prize.
I understand water is the best place to be for so many reasons. I swim below surface and imagine heaven. No noise, no distractions, nothing but vastness and rippling quiet. To live life in the silences where you can think your thoughts is worth the cost of shaving. This pool is old. Its white edges a bit worn appear more a speckled gray. Look upward to where her words sometimes get trapped and the ceiling is missing a few tiles. If the roof spoke, it would have a lisp. Yet, the quiet water sparkles like her stories. We are all, all us old folk, weightless and mobile. I am thankful the world is mostly water. God knows what we didn’t. Water keeps bodies from falling too hard or getting too soft. There in salty aqua floats eternal things older than the universe.
I’m sure she loved Raven Hall Pool for the same reason. And those lifeguard brothers. She dated the younger and was infatuated with the older. All the doe-eyed girls swallow swooned. It is not difficult imagining two young, handsome lifeguards all the way down to their bulging confidence. And her first kiss. The water is a perfect temperature. It’s not over-chlorinated which is good because I keep my eyes open underwater. Don’t wear goggles or cap, I’m not ready for either of those.
When we lift our legs up the steel rungs, it’s with the sad exhaustion of a marathon won but over. Until the next time. And there will be many more, I pray. To hear more stories and watch her words grow flippers. This pool is worn but it is in the worn out places and underwater silences where our thoughts make their best escapes. The world is mostly water. Imagine, all those words swimming up to the sky.
this beautiful young woman, my mother-in-law during her modeling days, I painted this years ago for her (she can’t recall the photographer’s name-I used his breathtaking photos for reference)
the story is based on one my mother told me from her teen summers spent at Raven Hall Pool when she made an absolutely gorgeous swimmer (and still does:)) xo