I had a dream that the pool was full. The water struggled to say level as it bounced between giggling bodies. I dreamed that I stepped in shyly in front of the kids, all yelling and running. I raised my gangly tan elbows above my head as my waist slipped into the cold water. I inched along the tiled wall of the pool. They were decorated in splotchy blue triangle. I felt awkward and like people were watching me so I touched my chin to the tiles. They were warm from basking in the sun. They let me continue inching along them towards the deep end. The ugly plastic line of buoys halted my inching hands. I turned around to face the small pool of kids. I didn’t want to be there anymore. The kids said to go play with someone else with their squinty eyes and lips pressed together. I started to make my way across on the buoy when the franzzled lifeguard snapped, “No hanging on the line!” I let go and pumped my feet to stay above water. It was five feet deep where I was. My mouth dipped underwater. My knees and feet banged against the other kids and they shot annoyed stares towards my sinking face. I looked back at the blue tile walls to see that I was too far to reach them. I dipped under water and jumped when my feet touched the bottom. I drank water and there was a strange taste. Water: treated with clorine, invaded by dozens of sticky and sweaty bodies, sloshed with melting hair gel and kids’ spitting. It tasted like drowning.
I saw the lifeguard sitting. I should signal to him to save me. I don’t want to make a big deal. I don’t want him to dive into the water and grab my stupid body. Maybe I’ll just let myself go. My dogs would miss me. I decided not to call the guard. I thought about grabbing someone around me, but instead, my head bobbed in and out of swallowing water three more times. I thought drowning was much more dramatic. It tastes like the feeling of the dentist numbing your mouth and the taste of eating something that leaves a film in your mouth and the taste of smelling something with too much ammonia and the smell of boiling broccoli all at the same time.
I reached the other side and crawled out of the pool with my elbows. I let my coughs out and then I walked to the locker room with my nose dripping pool water.