* * *
There’s a slight breeze licking around my heels as I pad across the yard, and around the edge of the pool to the ladder. My bare feet make a light slapping sound on the pavement, but otherwise the only noise is the faint gurgling of the filter, and the soft liquid murmur of the water lapping at the edges of its confinement.
At the water’s edge, I lean on the two handles of the ladder, lifting first one foot, then the other, dipping each into the foot bath that prevents little specks of sand and grit from hitching a ride into the pool on the soles of my feet. Then, I look down at the top run of the ladder, before beginning my descent.
There are only three steps from the top rung to the low end of the pool, but I enter the water almost languorously, revelling in the sensations of cool water against too-hot flesh.
My feet touch the bottom of the pool, and my toes flex into the liner. Sometimes I think I can feel things moving in the earth far below the bottom, but I usually realize it’s just wishful thinking.
A song lyric floats into my head, as I lunge toward the deep end of the pool, my legs scissoring, my arms holding a float. Later, I’ll do real strokes, but this moment is for long glides from end to end, with the small styrofoam float as a toy, not a support.
For a moment, I’m a child again, lost in memories of days spent lingering in the water long past the time my grandmother wanted me out. “Your lips are blue,” she’d call. I’d always wanted a mirror, to see if she meant it.
I spend a luxurious hour splashing and swimming, laughing at my dog when she barks at the sound of my kicking, and lobbing (or attempting to) fistfuls of water at her. She looks so silly, trying to catch the droplets raining down on her fluffy white head.
Later, showered, and dressed in soft cotton loungewear, I’ll smooth on some lilac-scented hand lotion, and let my thoughts loose in the past, remembering the lavender wallpaper in the middle bedroom in my grandmother’s house, and how much I always longed to have a room that color.