One thousand one, one thousand two. I can’t breathe. My eyes fill with chlorine. I smile, bend my knees, and push my feet off the bottom. I follow the bubble to the top and exhale as I break the surface. No feeling in the world comes close. At that moment I was thankful. Thankful because out of all the houses my parents could have chosen that summer, that chose the one with the in-ground swimming pool. When people think of pools they may think op upkeep, stagnant water, and safety. Purchasing a home with a pool changed my life. A change that impacted me for the moment and for the future.
My parents told me that summer that we were moving. I was so upset the words were like vomit in my system. I had just made new friends and I felt like my world was ending. They had a few choices, some big, some small, and of course the one with the in-ground pool. They, with reservations, selected the one with the in-ground pool. Now at the time I couldn’t swim so remembering the time I almost drowned at Cousin Jay’s house the idea was also like vomit I kept thinking about. Needless to say, it was a week of nausea for me. When we got to the house I looked at the green body of algae and thought, “Yay! This was the best idea ever, why didn’t I think of it” Note the sarcasm. I thought of all the cons of having a pool.
The maintenance first, you have to be much disciplined in having a pool. Keeping up the maintenance is important because it can cost you a lot of money in the long run if you don’t. The stagnant water itself is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and also the first time that I was introduced to water bugs. Keeping up the filter and tablets is essential to not having to dish out money to drain and have to refill the entire pool. My dad purchased a vacuum cleaner for the pool. No, I didn’t stutter there is a vacuum designed specifically for pools, and there was this floaty thingy that swam around in the pool. My dad said it had some special kind of chemicals in it, but I just rolled my eyes and thought about my friends that I was missing before the move.
I sat outside as the California sun beat down on my face. I looked at all the tools and robotic pool cleaner contraptions my dad had bought from Mr Cho’s pool cleaning and I felt it again, nausea, What were they thinking when they bought this house, seems like so much work. “Are you going to jump in feet first when I get this thing all cleaned up?’ my dad asked as I played myself at handball along the side of the house. “Not in this lifetime” I mustered. He shrugged it off with a grin on his face. Besides I thought, I didn’t even know how to swim. If I jumped in that thing feet first, that chemical in the pool wouldn’t be the only thing floating.
My dad had just finished draining the pool. He walked right passed me uninterested as he continued to work I looked at the bottom of the pool thinking that this massive hole in the ground was, well kind of interesting. Never would I let him know. As each day passed that week I sat outside with my father as he continued the upkeep of the pool. I watched the entire process. By the time it was time to fill up the pool the sun had all but taken my soul over the past week. Determined to cool off I pressure my dad to let me turn on the house and fill up the pool so that I could sneak a few sprits of that cooling water. The pool was finished in about a week and a half s time.
I remember sitting outside and eating a Popsicle. The heat didn’t stop. In fact, it began to beat off the pool water and I swore it spelt my name. I inched over to the edge. Just put my toes in, I thought. The cool, cold feeling was nothing like I’d ever felt before. By the time I knew it, I had eased in my toe, and then my legs. The next thing I knew my entire upper half was submerged. My dad swam passed me like a fish. He had a grin on his face. “Let go!” he said. I did, and at that moment I let go of a lot. My fears, my curiosity about the new pool, and everything I was so determined to hold onto before the move.
The next thing I know I was swimming with my dad. The water felt so superior. We laughed as he showed me all the cool tricks you can do in a pool. Headstands, back-flips, diving boards, and so much more. I didn’t know my skin could wrinkle so much. We swam till night and then turned the night pool lights on so that we could swim more. That day I learned that a stagnant body of water had more than just aesthetic appeal to a home, it made our home. That pool brought together our family. It created so many memories for me as a child. I swam every day after that. I loved having a swimming pool. There was nothing better than the feeling that the water gave me. When I had children of my own, as soon as I could I introduced them to the water. They too swim like fish, and in our own family, we’ve created a school of fish. I vow to let them have the same childhood changing experience that I had growing up.