My mother can’t swim. I can though. She was a constant observer of those in the water: sitting there on the concrete edge of the hotel pool, gently circling her ankles in the clear blue. I would paddle around once, dipping under before gently rising again. I would circle around and come to her. I would pout my lips before going under and scratching at the soft underbelly of her feet. Surfacing again I’d cry out: I’m a shark! Before going under again beneath a trail of bubbles. She’d smile and move her ankles faster, kicking up splashes of chlorine into the air like dew drops on blades of grass.
Join me, I’d ask her. And once in a while, she’d wade into the shallow end, content only if the water was below her waist. I’d swim out far, dive down deep and rush back, creating waves around her ribs.
My mom never learned to swim. I always wished she had.