By P.T. Stone
There’s a swimming pool in the backyard. I’m standing at the top of the stairs, on the porch. The dirt is curled up around the speckled eggshell-colored concrete surrounding the pool. The three gumball trees that fell last October in the hurricane are still standing.
My sister is laying out in a lounge chair, reading a magazine. Her hair’s up in a ponytail with a scrunchie. She never wears her hair like that. She doesn’t read magazines. I wonder if that’s even my sister. Her hair is curly—ringlets, like my mother’s is in her wedding portrait. It’s not my sister. It’s my mother.
I’m in the pool and I’m playing a game with myself where I jump up and go under water over and over until the whole pool has waves rough enough to splash the pool deck. It also creates an adrenaline rush. I think about the way it might feel to be drowned and it must be something like that.
Hours later, the sun has gone away and the clouds are dark blue and purple. Someone is telling me to get out of the pool because I may be struck by lightning. I think it’s my mother telling me to get out, but it can’t be if my mother is lounging beside the pool. I look back at whoever’s in the chair and I think that it’s my sister but it looks like my mom. I don’t know why I think it’s my sister.
The woman telling me to get out of the pool tells us that our mother’s flight will be home soon. I hope that the plane is alright in the dark blue and purple clouds. I hear the muddled rumble of thunder off in the distance.
I look up to the clouds and think about my mother in a plane and I see a plane flying. It gets struck by lightning. I think I’ve just seen something so I blink over and over, but the plane is still there. It hesitates at first, but then it turns and nosedives. It’s falling to the earth quicker than it was flying past us and I lose sight of it in the pool.
The fear that the plane my mother was on was struck by lightning creates a rush of adrenaline in me that makes me feel like I’m drowning.
I don’t know why, but I stay in the pool.