This didn't have a title until just now, but it felt like there should be something indicating the end of my commentary and the beginning of the story. I give you...
A Night at the Pool
There’s a reason I try to avoid breaking rules. It seems like whenever I do, something goes wrong. I’ve grown accustomed to the notion that the rules are there to protect me. I realize it’s not like that for everyone. Some people thrive on rebellion. It serves them well. Not me.
And so it stands to reason that the one night my friend Charlotte convinced me to go for a late night swim at the community pool, I probably should have declined. Breaking and entering certainly qualifies as rule-breaking, but it was swelteringly hot and the pool beckoned with sweet refreshment. If I was going to be soaked in something, better chlorinated water than sweat, I thought.
Charlotte had flirted with one of the lifeguards on more than one occasion. It hadn’t taken her long to learn where a key was hidden for staff and cleaners. It had taken her even less time to convince me that we could get in, swim for an hour, and lock up without anyone knowing and without anyone being hurt by it. It was a victimless crime.
The pool was a little over a mile from my house so we walked, not wanting to arouse suspicion by parking a car nearby. Charlotte found the key, unlocked the gate, and closed it behind us. In the moonless night, we followed the glow from the pool’s underwater lights. The surface of the water rippled slightly as pools often do and I could feel the relief that was about to be ours.
Charlotte must have felt it, too. Before I could say anything, she had kicked off her flip-flops, stripped off her t-shirt and shorts, and was diving in. I set my clothes on the first chair I passed, adjusted my swimsuit, and started down the stairs into the blissfully cool water.
“See, Jill? I told you this would be great,” she called when I was in. “The pool is all ours. This is the first time a today I haven’t felt like hyperventilating from the heat.”
“Yes, it does feel really good.” I dunked my head and smoothed my hair back, then settled in to a comfortable back float. From the corner of my eye I caught Charlotte starting her first lap.
I closed my eyes and let my tension and my sweat wash away. I tried not to think about how awful it would be to get back out in that humid air, only to never really dry off.
The night was still. The only sounds were the bugs in the near distance and the gentle splash Charlotte’s arms and legs slicing through the water, the latter of which fell away to nothingness.
I didn’t realize this was a problem until I heard her quaking voice call my name. I turned to see her treading water at the far end where the pool turned it’s L-shaped corner into the diving board area. Her eyes stared wide at what I couldn’t see from where I was.
“What is it, Charlotte?” When she didn’t answer, I started toward her adding, “Are you okay?”
She shook her head ever so slightly as she tried to find words. “I’m fine. He is not.” That’s when I turned away from her to what held her attention and no, he most definitely was not fine.