But I was stuck sitting by the pool that day, while Cody, my twelve year old son, went swimming. Originally, my wife was supposed to give him a ride to the pool, but a crisis came up at her office. So I got stuck driving him. I couldn’t say no to Cody, who wanted to swim one last time before the pool closed for the summer.
As I sat by the pool, though, a part of me wished I’d said no. Just the sight of the pool fifteen feet away from me made me feel a bit queasy.
Last time this summer, I thought. Last time. And maybe Cody wouldn’t be interested in swimming next summer. Not likely—he’d gone swimming almost every day this summer. His swimsuit was brand new in June, and now it was faded and worn. But I could dream this would be the last time I ever had to come near this pool.
This would be a good chance to read a book I’d wanted to read all summer. But it was hard focusing on it. I was too conscious that I was near the pool. I was too conscious that my son was in that pool.
I kept looking up. Checking on Cody. Making sure he was OK. Even though there was no rational reason to believe he wouldn’t be OK. Even though there was nothing I could do if something went wrong, except scream for a lifeguard to do something. And wouldn’t the lifeguards do the job automatically?
Finally, I gave up even trying to read.
Cody had a few races with other boys. He dunked friends, and they dunked him. Then, the boys gravitated over to the diving boards, where they had a cannonball contest. Cody told me once they hoped to get a big splash one day that would soak the lifeguard who stood by the diving tank.
I suddenly thought of my best friend when I was a kid. We were always doing stuff together—except going to the pool in summer. I sadly wondered what memories might I have now if I had been able to go swimming? Would I now remember the day I beat my friend in a race? The day he did a cannonball that soaked the lifeguard?
I would never know. We can only guess what might have been.
At least, I’d brought my son here today. Maybe in thirty years, he’d remember something that happened today. And he’d smile at the memory.