The hem of her black skirt gets wet. The tequila bottle rests heavy on her thigh. She sniffles. Her head does not feel like it is connected to the rest of her body. She knows how deep the pool is, only four feet where she sits, but it’s hard to tell looking at it with the solid blue lining, the darkness of after midnight, the tiredness of a long day, and the buzz of alcohol in her head.
She wonders if this is how he saw it, before he jumped. Coming home late, drunk from a good time with his buddies, thinking that the water looked inviting, not thinking of the consequences.
She stands now, and walks around the edge of the pool, leaving indistinct, soggy footprints on the concrete behind her. She sets her tequila bottle down and steps onto the white diving board at the deep end of the pool. She slowly walks to the end, noticing the gritty texture under her feet like she never has before.
She pauses and looks at the sight before her. The three foot concrete rectangular outline of the pool. The grass beyond the concrete, which she knows is lush and bright, but she cannot tell now in the scarce light of the stars and moon. Her parents’ house is tall and white and dark not many yards away. She memorizes it, only because she thinks that perhaps her brother had seen the same thing, last week, five days ago, around this same hour at night, in the same condition she was in.
It’s a morbid comfort and strain because she needs to know more. She takes a deep breath and jumps.
She’s surrounded by water. It is neither cold nor warm. Her eyes are squeezed shut. For a moment she waits, holding her breath, trying not to swim. She waits until her lungs start to burn for another breath and then she begins to flail, trying to get back to the surface, which she finds a moment later, and she heaves for air.
Water streams over her face. She paddles to the side of the pool and clings to the edge of the wall. She blinks the stinging chlorine out of her eyes. Something clogs in throat in the unfairness of it all. She feels too weak to pull herself out of the pool, so she holds onto the ledge, gripping the concrete tightly and kicking her legs beneath her to stay afloat.
Margery Bayne splits her time between her home in Baltimore, Maryland and college in a minuscule town in Pennsylvania. Her main creative energies go toward writing fiction, but occasionally dabbles elsewhere when the muses insist.