Monday, July 12, 2010

Not a pool, but it will suffice

The heat of the day was unforgiving and inescapable.

Nothing I did made it better. Even breathing seemed to ring more sweat from my over heated body and the flip flops on my feet warmed me from the ground up.

Windows open. Fans on. Trying my best to keep the indoor temperature livable, if not comfortable.

A pie had been promised and a pie I would deliver. So I set about my task.

The heat from the oven made it all the more unbearable to be inside.

I soldiered on. It wasn't a difficult recipe, but it seemed to take an eternity to complete.

Dressed in a light cotton skirt and tank top, damp with sweat, I wondered how women did this sort of thing dressed in petticoats and corsets. All day in a hot kitchen baking breads and preserving meats and fresh summer vegetables to be able to feed a large family when the weather changed.

And I was only making a pie.

Finally. Finally. The pie was done. Into the refrigerator to set. If only I could crawl in with it.

The sun had nearly set and the day was very slowly beginning to cool, but the temperature inside these four walls was still so oppressive and was closing me in more and more by the minute. Something had to be done.

A shower. To wash away the grime of the day and cool my tortured skin.

It took a little time to get the water cool enough. Used to putting out water that is a little hotter than necessary, the faucet seemed resistant to the unfamiliar water temperature.

At once it was just right. Not warm at all, but not so cold as to cause pain.

I took my time washing off the salty sweat from my limbs. Luxuriating in the feel of the water on my skin. I almost expected to see steam rising from my body.

When I finished with the soap and shampoo and was cleanly rinsed I took a moment to step under the water fall.

Closing my eyes I let it wash over me. Comforting and soothing.

And then I was transported to a time, twenty odd years ago, when swimming pools and popsicles filled my days instead of laundry and dirty dishes.

I was floating in the chlorinated water. I could feel it flowing over my skin and pulling me along. I pretended I was a mermaid under the sea. My fins propelling me faster and faster until I couldn't hold my breath any longer and had to break the surface and my fantasy.

Always a playmate nearby - a sibling or a cousin or a friend. To play marco polo or see who could make the biggest splash with their cannonball jump.

When hunger came over us and could no longer be ignored we climbed out and were greeted by juice boxes and peanut better crackers. The crumbs sticking to still wet arms, hastily dried off in search of sustenance.

Parents and aunts and uncles and grandparents. All scrambling to feed us. Slather on more sunscreen. Peel of wet swim suits because someone had to go to the bathroom.

We waited as long as we could for our food to digest before jumping back in. The cool water was such a welcome escape from the hot sun.

Swimming and diving and reveling in the sweet summer day that would come to an end all too quickly.

And it always did. Come to an end.

Noses and cheeks a little too pink. Never enough sunscreen to block out those wonderful rays of sunshine.

Feet a little blistered from the rough texture of the pool rubbing on the prune like bottoms of little toes.

The sun getting lower in the sky and a call to get ready to go home.

Just five more minutes.

The day cooling off a bit paired with the still cool water, so perfect. A truly intoxicating feeling.

And then the sad realization that the day was done. Hunger pangs were striking again. Exhaustion beginning to take hold of little bodies spent in play.

Wrapping ourselves in over-sized towels, we gave up, and followed the adults away from the pool and into the car.

Once home again we settled in for a relaxing summer evening with the sweet events of the day fresh on our minds and the hope that tomorrow would be the same.


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