“No Running on the Pool Deck!” by Esther Dolatowski

Esther Dolatowski

“No Running on the Pool Deck!”

Arms shivering, legs quivering. A cool breeze gusted upon damp skin creating a dispersion, causing millions of tiny little goosebumps. A place of warm comfort turned into a cool nightmare. I timidly walked up to the queue, my stride began to waver with each step closer to the ladder. A line that went on forever became so close, so near that I could not fathom what would happen when my turn came. As I inched nearer, a bubbling anxiety reached the surface and began to boil over. As I approached the first step I couldn’t do it. I whipped myself around as overwhelming emotions passed through me. I would try for another day.

A warm afternoon in June was when the “next day” came; I braced myself, making my way to the line, walking slower than imaginable. Right. Left. Right. Left. Dragging one foot after another, (you’d think I would have collapsed on top of myself). Yet, I trudged on. Back in line I waited to face my fears, to face the unknown, to take the leap. I had never been this close…Right. Left. 

As my left foot touched the rough plastic board I realized what I was about to face. I was afraid. In that instant I turned around, a lump in my throat, my eyes filled with fluid. I pushed past the brave ones, their dripping wet hair drying in the summer sun, puddles surrounding their shadows, symbolizing the trophies to show their accomplishment.