28 June, 2004

Pool Shark

...Follow my wishes, follow the fishes/Down below/I go swimming/I need water, water to drink/Water on my brain, water sustain/Water over me....

"Flip your head over."

(Long pause.)

"Okay, now flip it back."

My nieces each get a turn having Aunt Belle comb their wet hair. Rae even- bless the darling- takes a turn at combing mine. Hannah and Rachel have new twin haircuts that make them look more than ever like big sister Kara. Kayleigh is squirmier than her cousins, less so than my daughter, and more affectionate. Emily has hair long like mine, and wants to undo it for swimming. Her mother argues in favor of a ponytail, but I understand her desire for "mermaid hair," which floats underwater all around, tangling with arms and fingers, trailing like a bridal train behind, swirling like a cloak during spins.

I explain to Em that hair long like ours clogs pool filters, so Management likes hair long like ours in braids to reduce shedding. If she wants, though, probably a couple of minutes would be okay. She takes a couple of minutes, but doesn't spend them underwater the way I would have. I braid her hair then, folding it into a club, like mine.
It's Christian's birthday; I expect my nephews to ignore me. They do. Garrett even neglects to tell me that he's taking a swim test so he'll be allowed to dive from the diving board. Seth's mother tosses off that information, and I hurry to cheer him on. He is blase. I escape the "mother, you're embarassing me" eye-rolling I am certain to get in the undistant future.
I tell them apart by intuition alone. Whatever name pops into my mind first when I greet one of them is ALWAYS right. Which makes the other one...the other one.
Because it's my in-laws, I ponder swimsuit selection. Because it's me, they'll understand the bikini. Because it's them, I hedge my bets by packing the black mesh one-piece. I consider my brothers-in-law, or, more precisely, the men who married my sisters-in-law.

I imagine I'll wind up in the bikini after all.

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