Julia saw the blood before she felt it. Two drops brightly adorned the porcelain sink. A warm trickle made its way down her arm, and she marveled at the absence of pain. Broken glass shimmered on the counter where her trophy lay in pieces. She grabbed a towel to stop the bleeding, and looked at her pale, streaked face in the mirror. Oh, darn, she thought, I won't be able to swim tonight.
"What are you doing now?" Her mother pushed her way in the door and stopped, "What have you done?"
"Oh, my God!"
"Why did you do this? John, call an ambulance!"
Her father ran in and looked at Julia's arm. "She doesn't need an ambulance, Susan."
Her mother was near hysterics, and her father said, "Susan, go get the bandages, and let me handle this." He looked at Julia, and gently swabbed the wound.
"What now?" he asked. "Nationals are next week, and you may not be able to swim." He shook his head. "Coach says recruiters will be there."
Julia looked at the broken shards. "I don't care."
"She's always in trouble," said Julia's mother between tissues. She delivered the bandages. "Last night Sally should have kicked her off the team."
Father sighed, and began to wrap Julia's arm...
Her mother said, "Julia, bring this cupcake to Coach Sally."
Julia rolled her eyes, hung her fins on two fingers, and carefully balanced the cupcake in her palm. She shouldered her duffle and grabbed her backpack with the other hand. When she got to Coach Sally's desk, Julia dropped the fins to place the cupcake down on the only available spot, a chair. She was going to move it, but her duffle fell and she heard familiar jibes of "teammate" Monica.
"Julie, it's your turn to bring in the lane lines."
(I hate it when she calls me Julie.) "Well, I'm getting ready to go Mah-nee-kah, so maybe next time."
"Coach, shouldn't Julie do her part?"
"Are you bolting again Julia?"
"No excuses, Julia. Move your tail in there."
Julia did as she was told. Her mother was chatting with the "others" anyway. She stripped back down to her suit and cannonballed into the pool, sending a spray of water into the talking women. She heard muffled protests as she swam further underwater. When she came up for air she saw Coach Benson smiling.
"Ruffled more feathers, I see," he said.
She grabbed the line and shrugged. Deanna swam in front of her, pushed her under, and initiated another water tussle. Coach Benson walked away shaking his head. Julia finished her chore, and as she climbed out of the pool, she heard Coach Sally's shriek and the boy team's laughter.
(What now?) Julia saw Monica pointing, and then she saw Coach Sally's frosted butt.
Julia heard her mother's sobs in the next room, and wished it were yesterday. What now?
Stay tuned for Series 2, to be posted Tuesday, July 7 by 6pm.