Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Tumbler of Sea Glass: Series 10

"It looks like Julie's going to swim. I thought she got bit by a shark." Monica shuddered.

Stop talking like I'm not here.

"Hey there, dairy queen, what's shakin'?"

Julia whirled and gave Stephen a sharp look, but Deanna laughed. Monica looked him over and gathered her minions.

"We're going to find a place for our team," said Monica. "Feel free to stay away."

"Stephen, don't make it worse for me!" whispered Julia.

Deanna pushed Julia's arm. "A slam on her DQ--I love it."

"Deanna, this is Stephen."


Warm-ups. For once, Julia was first in the pool. She swam her ritual underwater lap. Her lungs began to burn--so did all her worries. Time to focus.


No one was cheering. Bonnie Sumpter was cruising in the 500 free. Bonnie never won a race. Her competitor matched her, stroke for stroke. The two girls turned at the wall and Bonnie streamed ahead--100 meters to go--


Julia's mother put her hand to her chest. Julia's ecstatic leap knocked over the snack mix, and her father scooted out of range to guard his coffee. The zombied team looked up and saw Coach Benson waving and pointing excitedly--a few girls joined in.

"Come on guys!"

Julia was half-way down the bleachers before Deanna and Stephen could follow. She ran along the pool shouting, "Go, Bonnie, GO!"

When Bonnie won, the team erupted with cheering and clapping. Bonnie's triumph sparked hope for the whole team, and the cheering continued with Julia in charge. Monica watched from a distance.

"Girls, you're up soon," said Coach Sally as she marked her heat sheet. "Swim fast."

Deanna escorted Julia toward the blocks.

"Monica is in the lane next to mine."

"Don't even look her way," said Deanna.

"Julia!" called Coach Sally.

Julia turned.

"Monica has a tear in her suit. Do you have your spare?"

Of all people...


Julia stood behind the blocks. She stretched her legs, molded her cap, snapped her goggles--



She flung the broken goggles to the timers and teetered onto the block. Monica looked smug. That's it then. She took a deep breath. Stephen and Deanna were across the pool. Just be real. The team was near Deanna and Stephen. Deanna gestured and they all shifted to Julia's lane.

"Take your mark."

Don't fall in...


Once again, Julia felt cold water envelope her body. She undulated to the surface and burst into butterfly. The 200 medley was Julia's specialty, and butterfly was her favorite stroke. She swam blind, but skimmed along the surface. She heard whoosh with each breath. Black markers appeared on the bottom--fuzzy, but true. Wham! She turned to her back. A blob of teammates waved her on. Focus. Relax. Pull. Monica's best stroke was backstroke--her turn to shine. Julia focused on the line of ceiling lights until she was under the flags. One--Two--Three--Four--Five--TURN. I'm half-way there...

Series 11, FINAL SERIES, will be posted tomorrow, July 31.

No comments:

Post a Comment