Three steps and 30 feet of searing hot tile. It might as well be 30 miles in three minutes.
This was not part of today’s itinerary. We were supposed to see our movie, while they went to theirs. But moments after they walked out the door, my almost-six-but-feels-like-sixteen daughter decided that she simply wanted to spend an afternoon in the pool. And now I am faced with getting from here – in the pool – to there – the lounge chair where I left my towel – unseen and undamaged.
The odds don’t look good.
My son lives for Fridays, his weekly shot of testosterone-fueled antics, adventures and attitudes delivered by a man as irritating as he is endearing. A complete stranger a year ago, he entered our lives to soothe a little boy’s damaged heart. He shared my husband’s profession, but he did not know him nor did he know or have an obligation to the family left behind. He simply heard of a little boy in need and responded to the call. But as they often do, he went above and beyond the call of duty becoming my daughter’s champion as well. And in bringing their laughter back, he brought back my own. It is often said that the measure of a man comes not in what he says, but what he does. By any measure, he is a wonderful man.
Who does not need to see me in my bikini.
It’s not that I look bad – I can hold my own poolside. But it’s not easy to keep eye contact while wearing a foot of lycra cut in tiny triangles pieced together with string that is always just a little too loose to guarantee that everything will stay where you put it in the first place. And while I love my children, I do not love what they have done to the elasticity of my midriff.
For 15 minutes I have watched him toss, flip and dive alongside my two little sea urchins. Watching them is like watching the kaleidoscope of sunlight dance on the water. They sink below the surface, three bodies moving silently like sea creatures along the ocean bottom. That he would give her his undivided attention in this drenched playground has been my daughter’s wish all week. And suddenly I find myself wishing that he would swim underwater with her just a little longer.
Because I’m going to need more than 10 seconds to get to that towel.