March 3, 2013

Summer Memories

I rolled my swim trunks into my beach towel. I used a bungee cord to hold the cylinder to the handlebar of my white ten speed. I went back in the house where I checked to make sure I had the requisite seventy-five cents in the pocket of my cut offs. I pushed back my hair from my eyes and glanced at the mirror. My tanned, soon-to-be-a- high-school-freshman body had no fat. It had no muscle either. Wide shoulders sat above narrow hips framed by even-skinnier arms and legs. I practiced a James Dean smirk as I pulled on a faded Notre Dame T-Shirt.

I pushed the bike out of the garage and lowered the door. It occurred to me I forgot to eat lunch. I glanced back at the house, shrugged and mounted the bike. I checked the security of the bungee cords once more before heading down the short driveway. The Whitaker's aged collie-mix gave a feeble bark as I pedaled past.

I biked across town, avoiding the main streets. I traversed a set of railroad tracks, then another. I peddled past the old power plant  A short distance later I came to the corner ice cream stand. If I had money I would have grabbed a taco. I was sorry I skipped lunch. Down the hill I coasted, hands at my side. The bike was perfectly balanced even without my hands on the handle bars. I silently hummed along with the music playing in my head.

I cut up the bike path through the expansive city park. past the playground I could hear the whistles as the lifeguards opened the pool. I locked my bike into the rack. I had arrived as planned; just after the opening crowd had entered, to avoid the crush. I paid for my entry and a basket to store my clothes.

Jeff was just pulling on his trunks as  I dropped to the bench in the men's locker room. "S'up, man?" he intoned.

"How's it going? I'll be ready in a minute" I said as I threw my shorts and shirt along with my towel into the basket.  Jeff padded into the shower. He was still standing under the freezing water, wetting his swim trunks when I came in. I pulled the chain and quickly dowsed my hair and body. I sloshed through the chlorine-heavy foot bath before going out to the crowded pool.

The fifty year old public pool was filled with shouting, splashing people on this hot summer afternoon. We walked past the kiddie pool and shallow end  and marched toward the diving boards, trying our best to radiate cool from every pore. 

Jeff walked straight up to the two foot spring board. He walked purposely to the end. He turned his back to the pool and did a back flip after a quick bounce.  I ran to the end and executed a smooth jackknife in his wake. I saw Jeff flip me a middle finger as I leaped into the air for my dive. Laughing and sputtering we climbed up the side.  Ladders were for pussies.

I caught a glimpse of blond hair and a shapely teenaged body as I sprang onto the diving board again. I did a sloppy one-and-a-half somersault into the water and swam towards the concrete island in the center of the pool.


Ed Bonderenka said...

Stoopid browser cut the end of the story off.
What happens after the concrete island?

Erin O'Brien said...

Nice, Hoose. Remember the feeling of the hot concrete during those damnable 15 minute safety breaks?

Anonymous said...

I was a member of the diving team, the pool opened in May and the water was damn cold. Summers spent as part time life guard, swimming lap after lap before the pool opened and closed. Erin I remember the breaks and the hot concrete, the only time we could get off that damn life guard stand.
James Old Guy

Joe said...

I meant to save this a a draft. You guys got up early, while I slept in.

Oh well, the post is alive and well in cyberspace now.

Ralphd00d said...

Sounds like a Frankfort pool, for sure. Coming in from the west side of town, though, I had to cross three sets of tracks.... Was the ice cream stand called 'The Milky Way' when you were there?

Joe said...

The Milky Way was there and still is. The power plant is gone.

I'm told the old pool was replaced by a new one on the old site.

The rest is just fiction, part of a short story I am writing.

To get to my girlfriend's (wife) house on the west side of town meant I had to cross 5 sets of tracks -- more if I went down by the Yard.

I hate trains.

diamond dave said...

Ah, I miss those days. I still love swimming, but detest crowds, and avoid public pools like the plague.

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