Learning How to Dive

by jamesmerolla

I love the smell of the indoor pool. It’s probably my favorite smell.  I love when I’m walking down the stairs to get there and everyone swimming sounds like they’re in a big cave. It’s so warm inside too. I like to pretend it’s always summer in there, unless it’s snowing, then I don’t want to go swimming.

I go every Sunday. I hate Sundays. They always make me so depressed, but when I’m swimming I don’t care what day it is.  It could be Tuesday and I wouldn’t know. My mom always takes me, but I can never get her to go in. She just sits on the bench and watches me. Sometimes I splash her.

Randy is my instructor. He taught me how to swim in the deep end, finally. I felt like I was the only kid in fourth grade that couldn’t swim.  But, according to Billy Pershing, that jerk, you don’t really know how to swim until you learn how to dive. He probably doesn’t know how to dive either. He’s such a liar. Do you know he told me he got struck by lightning twice? My mom told me he’d probably be dead.

So, today I was going to learn how to dive. I told Randy I wanted to dive off the high dive, but he said I’ll have to work my way up to that. Today we were just diving off the edge of the pool. It was kind of boring, but at least we were swimming.

The first time I tried I did a belly flop. It didn’t hurt, but Randy said it sounded bad. My mom couldn’t stop laughing. She said I looked funny when I belly flopped, stiff as a board. 

I kept messing up after that too. I wanted to tell Randy diving was stupid then do a big cannon ball off the high dive. And I was going too, but then I saw Holly Ashly with her friends. She was diving perfectly. It looked easy when she did it. That’s probably because she’s a sixth grader and she’s so tall.

She held my hand once. It’s true. She knows me. Her mom and my mom are friends. One time her mom came over to hang out with my mom and some other people, and she had to bring Holly with her. We just sat downstairs and watched movies together, and she held my hand all the way through the scary movie we weren’t allowed to watch. Her hair smelled really good, and it’s actually a lot more brown when you see it up close.

Our hands started getting really sweaty though, and I kept thinking she was going to let go, but she didn’t, not until the movie was over.

Her dad is gone too—not like my dad, her dad died. She told me how he died, I was afraid she was going to cry, but she didn’t. He died in a car accident. She said the funeral was so long. I told her my grandmother’s was the longest ever, but she didn’t believe me. I thought about hugging her. I might try next time.  

None of my friends believe me when I tell them that. They all call me Billy Pershing, but I tell them my true story is way better than any of Billy’s lies. And if I were lying I would have said I kissed her, or something. I bet they’re just jealous.

She’s a really good swimmer, so I always try to get her to see how good I am too. That’s why I decided I was going to learn how to dive, even though I thought it was stupid.  It didn’t take me too long after that. I just kept trying to do it the way Holly did it. I’m pretty sure I never did it as well as her, but Randy told me I was getting a lot better.

I saw Holly dive off the low diving board. Next week I’m definitely going to start doing that.

I hope winter never ends.

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