Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Tumbler of Sea Glass: Series 9

"Come on, Julia!"

Stephen's voice was getting annoying. Thinks he's a real coach.

"Just a minute... The only thing that makes practice bearable is working with Timothy. He doesn't nag."

"What do you call his fist-banging for 'Mary Had a Little Lamb'?"



Julia pulled Timothy backwards and splashed his hands.

"You're doing backstroke," she said.

He closed his eyes and smiled.

"And now the crowd is roaring..."

She prompted Stephen, who cheered obediently. Julia rushed backwards through the water and Timothy laughed. She gently stretched his arm to touch the wall.

"The winner!!"

"Come on, Julia."

Don't push it, Stephen...


Two weeks went by quickly.

"Aunt Georgia, he's going to say it again," said Julia.

"What's that?"

"Come on, Julia--Are you ready, Julia?--Let's go, Julia..."

Aunt Georgia laughed. Julia loved her aunt's rosy scent and mad-orange hair. Such freedom. Julia thought about the things she had done with sea glass. Last night she hurled another piece in the ocean--Stephen was driving her crazy.


"Look Timothy," said Julia.

A paper "Mary" tended her sheep. In the center was the "little lamb" painted on green sea glass. Julia took Timothy's hand and let him touch the bubbly texture of the lamb.

"I love the way you painted the bubbles white to make a lamb," said the aide.

Timothy smiled and played his song once more. Julia ruffled his black curls.


Wham! Julia splashed into the wall. That better be a good time.

"Good work, Julia," said Janice.

"That's the best yet," said Stephen.

Julia pulled off her goggles and looked at Stephen, who was holding the watch and grinning.

"Go home, load up with carbs, and sleep," said Janice.

Julia and Stephen took the long way to Aunt Georgia's--along the beach.

"I can't believe you stopped swimming. You're too good," said Stephen.

"There's always someone better... and they aren't always nice about it."

"Come on--"

"Stephen--no more pep talks."

"I was only--"

"Do you want to know why I'm here?"


"I slammed my stupid trophy on the counter and cut my arm. I missed Nationals because of that trophy. That trophy--I didn't earn it--I got it by default when stupid Monica got DQ'd."


"Yes... but she never lets up that she was still faster."

"But you were real."

They were quiet for a while. Stephen put his arm around Julia and squeezed.

"Is faster important?"

"I don't know anymore... Maybe it's more important to be real..."

Stephen smiled. "You can be both."


Here we go. The pool building echoed with voices, BEEPS, and equipment checks. Teams found territories by the pool. Julia's stomach flipped. Where's Deanna? Her parents and Aunt Georgia were in the stands talking to Stephen and Janice.

Julia's phone buzzed. Before she could answer, she heard Deanna's familiar squeal rushing toward her.


Their hug erased time. My teammate is here.

"Hello Julie."

And so is Monica.

Surprise! Due to some miscalculations, there are still two series to go! Series 10 will be posted Thursday, July 30, and drumroll.... Series 11 will be posted Friday, July 31.

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