Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Evening Swim


San Diego is curling in on itself like a Southern cat around her kittens. She purrs on the porch, a dog barks in the distance, bugs hizz and floss through flowers and children. The heat knits and purls, knits and purls, I am a salt lick for husband. The air throbs, an atmospheric heartbeat.
After work, Mr. Curry shuts the bedroom door softly and watches the kids while I stretch out
from head to toe, Lola's stuffed dog on my belly. I close my eyes and drown in sleep, heat, the happiness and joy of my family's voices within my reach, murmuring and cracking throughout the house. I fall asleep to the sound of Lola's voice ' Dadddyyyy! '

A half hour later I wake, bleary eyed and stumbling. I pull on my polka dotted bikini and Mr. Curry ties it in a knot in the back, because the plastic clasp has broken and I don't have time or inclination to run down the street to Target and buy a new one. For one night, this will do. It is almost 7pm. Lola and Dakota smell like sunblock, this is how hot the sun is. We leave the front door wide open to air the house out, because Bellatrix and Weasley peed in the corner. Again. Mr. Curry slides his hand up my dress and thigh and we drive in silence to the community pool, barely a ten minute drive.

The pool is enormous, one area for children at 4 feet, a large free area, laps roped off for exercise, and another, deeper area on the far side with the diving boards. We pay the 2$ per person and slide gratefully into the lukewarm water. Birds dart overhead. There are a small handful of people for all this wide water. My family all swims to the middle of the large free area. This is possible because our Lola Moon, the baby of the family at 7, just learned how to swim LAST WEEK. We are so proud of her, so excited to see her wiggling and turning in the water like a big girl. The four of us bob and float in a square, grinning stupidly at each other. The young life gaurd watches us with a look on his face like he is thinking maybe one day, he will have such a thing as a family of his own. Watching us to see what it's like. The sky is enormous and unhurt by buildings, open and clear and blue. The air breaks as Michael Jackson's ' Billie Jean ' pulses from the loudspeakers. Mr. Curry begins to dance in the water. I slide my legs around him. Lola and Dakota pile on. We don't have Ian this day. We all swim through the music and the evening begins to set on the water and the light is beautiful and I slip into the embrace of the blue blue water and swim like a mermaid underneath the kicking feet of the most beautiful people in this world.
My family.
Elizabeth said...

So sweet.

krista said...

damn you. i am sitting here in los angeles HATING the heat and you just reminded me why i adore southern california. why it is home. i'm going to go sit outside for a bit.
(and by "damn you" i really meant "thank you")

Life with Kaishon said...

I saw your comment on Jason's page and came over to say hi. I love people named Maggie. One of my very dearest friends in college was named Maggie. I have never met a Maggie I didn't like. You write so beautifully. And the picture you have in the post is fantastically pretty.

PurestGreen said...

What a great post. I especially love "I am a salt lick for husband."

Laoch of Chicago said...

You really write very beautifully.

Captain Dumbass said...

Perfect.

The Audacity of Anna said...

Wet bodies laying on the hot concrete with music floating about and a long hot summer.

You have me thinking of my favourite memories...

Laura Lee said...

A beautiful afternoon...

and BTW, love your DID YOU KNOW?
since guess what substance turns into formaldehyde upon reaching about 82 degrees F? that's right, everyone's favorite diet drink additive... ASPARTAME. Look for this mortuarian's special in your local grocery store.

It has also been implicated in GULF WAR SYNDROME since all the diet drinks were dropped en masse in the desert, waiting for my friends to quench their thirst...

Julia Rizzolo Blackman, said...

I loved this post, can almost smell the sun cream. How I miss proper summers (England summers are not like that).
X

trading faces said...

sounds like a moment of peace for you, maggie may.

Badass Geek said...

Such an awesome moment.

Madge said...

thank you.

katiecrackernuts said...

Hey. You know it's so super special that you let us in on these moments. Thank you for a small moment to see the simplicity that is not.

Elle Bee... said...

This sounds so delightful. I feel cooled off just by reading!

Shannon said...

I love this post. I can see the scene so clearly, and your love for your family rings out loud and clear.

I have two asides: one, I so wish I could wear a bikini. :) two, I downloaded Billie Jean about a week ago. I hadn't listened to Michael Jackson in years (and years). I've been listening to it while walking and it makes me smile every time it comes on.

Again, great post.

Lemon said...

"We all swim through the music....underneath the kicking feet of the most beautiful people in this world." ..maggie, that's the most beautiful sentence. want to keep it in my heart always!

Vashti said...

just made me tear up!

Annie K said...

Hi Maggie,
I love the way the opening paragraph is written. The whole post is beautiful, and evocative of what its like to go swimming, and with people you love, but that opening is exceptional, moving from place to person, and then adding a specific sensory detail. Great writing!

And hooray for Lola; it's so exciting when our children learn how to swim, how they "get it," lift their feet and move their limbs, and learn to trust their bouyancy in the water.

Steph said...

niiiiice

starrlife said...

What a great snapshot, lovely time, lovely family.

Collin Kelley said...

I do hope you write a memoir one day. You're writing is so elegant and moving. Great nuance, insight, candor.

michelle said...

I love the smell of sunscreen on kids. sounds like a lovely summer time. beautifully written

Valentine said...

Sweet. You make me feel bad about cursing the hot weather we have over here now. You also made me want to go to the nearest pool.. Whilst reading this, I felt a bit like the lifeguard you describe. Thinking about how my future family would be like..

ps

Will def. take your advice.. I have been hard on myself lately. Thx, Maggie!

xx

V

7upkels said...

i am beyond flattered that you commented on my simple thoughts, after reading how magnificent yours are. you write so beautifully, that even thomas hardy (who i just finished reading) has competition! lovely blog!

Paula said...

I have become addicted to the smell of sunscreen and chlorine. The local pool is the only cure for the relentless heat of s. texas.
It's a brilliant post. Thank you.

Lydia said...

Powerful comment from Colin Kelley. I second it.

culdesacchronicles said...

This made me remember why I loved the summers when I was a kid. Your description of the heat was fantastic.

"The heat knits and purls, knits and purls, I am a salt lick for husband. The air throbs, an atmospheric heartbeat."

Being from the Mid Atlantic coast, I know of this heat.

slouchy said...

this is beautiful -- so evocative. and why isn't my own 7-year-old swimming? he's on the cusp, but has been on the cusp for two years now.

Heidi said...

Lovely...sigh...

Her name was Lola said...

Oh, I'm so happy you found me! I love your blog. Thanks for visiting, miss thing.

Cheers.

Lacey said...

Your description of summer ALMOST makes me not hate it so much. :-) Hmmm... maybe I should learn how to swim... or move to California...

Jenn said...

Beautiful. I always love to read about how grateful you are for your family, you totally understand they the most important in this world. Just beautiful.

Laura said...

Sounds like an amazing evening... a swim sounds wonderful!

Quixsa said...

:0) Thank you for writing about these precious moments that make life worth living.

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