Tuesday, February 21, 2012

and I wanted to

My aunt was the town Swim Instructor in Blue River when I was a girl, but like the Shoe Makers barefoot children, her own niece was a non-swimmer. My conscientious aunt took this failure to heart.
I recall her towering over me in waist deep water, commanding me to float. Schools of tadpoles darted past, and the distant sandy bottom of the lake wavered menacingly. The fact that she wanted me to try something called the "Dead Man's Float" didn't help either.
"I won't let you sink," she promised with an impatient sigh, not unlike a politician. Of course I promptly sank.
Summers passed and we moved away. I eventually learned to swim on my own as an eleven year old. That summer I experienced the brief interval between childhood caution and teen age angst that resulted in an overabundance of confidence. I could do whatever I wanted it seemed. And I wanted to swim.

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