Thursday, December 20, 2012


“Were those your daughters out in the pool?” Penelope asks the round friendly woman who has sat down next to her in the sauna. The two sisters had been having a blast earlier while Penelope was swimming laps. In fact, the lifeguard had even gotten into the act, a rarity at the Y. Coaching the girls to swim, with commands like: "Just one more lap! C'mon, you can do it!" The girls had been game. Laughing joyously, jumping, swimming, arms flailing. Not exactly lap swimming, but then, they were just kids.

Beaming, the woman nods, “Yes. They love it! My middle daughter, she has asthma, and it’s the only thing I can get her to do.”

“I had a friend who had asthma,” Penelope responds, shifting to sit up. “She started swimming, and after awhile, it actually improved and then, finally went away. Swimming is such a great exercise.”

“That is really good to hear,” Asthma Daughter Mom sighs. “Her doctor wasn’t so sure about swimming, but my daughter needs to do something. She’s on this medication, steroids, and it is not such a good thing. She won’t diet. I tell her, just smaller portions, and she gets so mad at me!” She sighs again, dramatically. “The steroids, they make it so hard for her to lose weight. I am so glad she likes swimming.”

“Yes, swimming is just the best!” Penelope agrees, drying out her cap and preparing to head out of the sauna. Her long swim had been good, but now she needed food. Swimming does that to her. Makes her ravenous. “I was swimming before I could walk!” she jokes.

“Really?” ADM stares at her, smiling slightly.
“I’m just kidding, but almost. It really is the best exercise and it’s something she can do her entire life.”

“I hope so. I just don’t know what to do with her. She needs to lose weight. And I’m hoping with the swimming that this will help, but the main thing is she loves it.”
Penelope nods, of course she loves it.

Swimming is Nirvana.

Later, drying her hair, Penelope spies The Asthma Problem Daughter. She’s busy at the counter, drying her own dark tangled locks, arranging Hello Kitty hair products on the counter for her little sister. “Tonight I brought some Hello Kitty Spray for our hair,” she tells her sister in that Big Sister Explanation Tone. “Would you like to try some?”

Little sister nods, reaching toward the Product. APD grabs it before lil’ sis can, “Here, let me do it for you!” Big Sister commands. And she does, spraying the pungently sweet teenage product all over her sister’s hair, the aroma filling the blow dried air.

Penelope wants to try some too. But knows that this would be too intrusive upon Big Sister’s Show. Or maybe not? Maybe Big Sister would be happy to do Penelope’s hair?

Somehow, Penelope thinks not. And tempting as it is to ask, she resists.
She watches as Big Sister sprays the product, then tenderly combs it through her sister’s wet hair. She’s serious. And authoritative.

It is her Salon.

Penelope smiles in spite of her usual abhorrence for children in the Women’s locker room taking over the hair dryers.

It’s the Sister Thing. And it makes her remember her little sisters and how much they played in the pool together, played house together.

She’s going to see her sisters soon. For the Christmas holiday.
Maybe she’ll bring some Hello Kitty Hair Product to do their hair.
Now there's a Christmas present that's sure to please....Hey, sisters? Are you game?

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