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
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
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
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
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.