Daddy's Swim Lessons

“Are you giving her lessons?” He gazes up at me blankly as I prepare to enter the lane.
“No…no….she is my daughter….”

The daughter grins at me from the two lanes over. Actually, she’s in the Mayhem Family swim section, the pandemonium flailing about her as she dives, her aqua fins flapping.

I’m hoping that Non Lesson Giver Dad (who had been demonstrating the freestyle stroke walking style) would get out of the lane and let me swim. But evidently this was not to be. I sigh inwardly. Again, circle swimming, though the pool has the appearance of less mayhem than the week before. Its surface is smooth with less tidal wave action since most of the swimmers seem to be lolling about at the walls.
Still, there are two swimmers in every lane, hence circle swimming again.

I inch into the water and take off down the lane, feeling immediately freerer as I glide. What was it about swimming? Granted my back is still bugging me, so the water’s buoyancy feels delicious. But as I’ve written about endlessly, swimming is my heaven. Some have a heaven with angels and trumpets. Some have a heaven in nature’s canyons. Some have a heaven in a bowl of Hagen Dazs.

Me? My heaven is being the water. And granted it wasn’t exactly angelic tonight with the threat of more circle swimming hell looming, but even with this possibility, I am feeling better than I had all day.

Non-swim lesson dad abandons my lane. Heads over to his daughter for closer stroke instruction. Yellow snorkel nose man hops in. Damn! I thought maybe I was gonna catch a break and be spared the starting and stopping of circle swimming.

Yet, Yellow Snorkel man can swim and so he pays attention. Plus we’re about the same speed which helps (unlike Backward Butterball who was nowhere in sight, thank goodness!).

Where do people come from and where do the go? Whenever I swim, there are the usual suspects---the same ones every Wednesday night from 8:30 to 9:30, but then there are those I see once and then never again. And then there are those who I saw for years and then they disappear.

Like what happened to Crashing Bongo Drum Man? Or Sideways Toe Nail Man? Or Foggy Mask Too Skinny Woman?
Did they find another pool? Are they at another Y? Or did they find another version of heaven that fit into their schedule better?

Or are they just in heaven?

I glance over at the father and daughter and grow a little misty behind my mask. I miss my father. We had such fun in the pool. Playing Mr. Banana Buddy and Dead Bug in the blistering summers of Hacienda Heights.

“Daddy!” Blue Fin girl cries out, splashing and grinning, swimming away from him. He laughs, takes off after her, no lessons on strokes now.

And I smile. Okay, sure it’s pandemonium and summer at the Oakland YMCA. But it’s also a reminder of what the pool can do.

Bring fathers and daughter together in a way that is full of fun, life and splash..... And for this, tonight, I’m thankful that this little slice of ‘heaven’ is swimming next to me.


Ruth Jameson said…
I have a tear ...thank you

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