08 March 2009


He is playing at the pool, this nine or ten year old boy with glowing white skin from indoors and a baseball cap he refuses to remove and wears like a crown of manhood. He is comfortable playing alone until he notices her, a girl about his age in a brown bathing suit the color of her hair. She swims up to him to engage him in play, splashing her greeting.

Everything she does he tries to do better, and they begin playing side by side. She races past him. He swims faster. They shoot water guns and bat a ball back and forth with their hands. He always lets her go first. He is straddling competition and chivalry, and he doesn’t understand why, but he doesn’t want her to go away. She is a tomboy, but there is softness to her moves. “I’m coming to the pool tomorrow,” he tells her before he leaves with his mother. She nods and laughs.

And I sit under a pool umbrella and watch because the girl is my nine year old daughter. My moleskine journal is afraid to accept my fountain pen memories of this moment. The young Romeo’s naive and innocent interest is both beautiful and frightening.

old moleskine
empty, off-white pages
damp with the pool’s tears

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