The Things They Loved
They love the water in their hair and in their hands, the way it splashes against their backs as it pours from the giant bucket above. They love the smell of the sunscreen and how it makes their skin shine in the sun and how it makes the water beads across their skin. They love the wind off the lake that gives them goosebumps when they step out of the pool for a drink of water or a snack. They love the flavored Icees that turn their teeth red and make them shiver from head to toe. They take out the plastic straws with the scoops on the bottom and chew on them until they are flat. They love the smell of the chlorine and the sound of the boats across the lake. They love their baseball hats and their blue striped towels and the warm plastic of the lawn chairs around the pool. They love the fire ants that they call bites, but they don’t love when they bite them. They love pretending to get bitten, running and splashing into the water, flinging their arms out like they are wiping them off.
They love the plastic inner tubes that help them float. They hang onto them and move through the water without moving their bodies, and they use them to bounce into one another and the big plastic slides. They love the curve of the slides, and how the water pushes them down and out and sprays their faces and goes up their noses. They ask their dad to take them down the slides in his lap. They scoop up water in empty cups and throw it at their mom’s legs. They love climbing the wet ropes, the way they scratch their hands and leave them tingling. They love the wheels they can turn to shoot out water at each other. They try to catch their dad too, but he is too fast. They love the dinner they eat poolside, chicken fingers and French fries dipped in ketchup, globs of which end up on their toes like blood. They run to their mom and tell her they are bleeding and laugh when she realizes it’s ketchup. They love the look on her face before she realizes, the shocked roundness of her eyes, then, how they wrinkle as she smiles when they tell her the truth. They love pulling her into the pool and showing her where to stand so that they can splash her as they come down the water slides.
They love the colors the setting sun makes across the sky with its pinks and oranges and deep dark blues and how the faint outline of the moon appears. They love the smell of the campfire where they roasted s’mores and let the gooey marshmallow stick to their fingers and their lips as the chocolate melted and ran down their forearms. They love the sound of the water that obliterates everything. They love that they can’t hear each other unless they stand so close their shoulders are touching. They make their dad bend down so they can whisper in his ear. They love changing out of their wet bathing suits and into pajamas. They lick the frosting off cupcakes as they sit on the couch and watch a movie about a princess. They love sharing a room that night, calling out to one another in the dark like they are playing a game of Marco Polo. They love the silence that enfolds them as they lay there, sunburned and tired, thinking about the next day.