She chokes on the water and knows what she needs. A concession stand with vending machines.
A flimsy cup no bigger than the size of her small hand drops to the tray and is filled with soda, carbonated water, and ice. A Bruce’s fried pie (lemon or apple, please). An ice-cream sandwich melts instant chocolate on her fingers.
She musters up courage and waits in line for the high dive. Children chatter with excitement, with anticipation. But Sparky Carolyn stays quiet in her nervousness. Perhaps she’s not so sparky after all.
It’s her turn. She makes it up the tall ladder. Her toes rest on the end of the board.
She looks down. It’s a long way to the water.
“Hurry up!” Someone yells.
I’ll go down too far. I’ll run out of air on the way back up.
She backs up and returns to the ladder. Children sigh at having to move aside. She reaches the safety of the flat, hot concrete.
Tomorrow. I’ll do it tomorrow.
Back in the safety of the three-feet depth, she rejoins her friends. She sips tea and eats crumpets under water like a queen. The three girls resurface and giggle at their immense creativity.
“Don’t worry. One day you’ll wake up to find they’ve grown.”
She looks at her friend, then down at her own flat chest.
Tomorrow. Maybe it will happen tomorrow.
“Me” at Northwest Pool in Austin, Texas. (1950-60’s)