He’d grown up a few blocks away. But he hadn’t been back to this pool in many years, and it had really deteriorated in that time. The pool house paint, which had been so bright and colorful, was now faded and dingy. The diving board, which had been so much fun when he was a boy thirty years before, was now gone. The pool deck had cracks. And he’d heard the pool itself was in terrible repair, leaking a huge amount of water every day. The only thing that still looked the same was the blue sky overhead. But even that probably wasn’t as good as it once had been, thanks to pollution from the fast growing city.
Friends had told him the pool was falling apart. But it was still a shock seeing the reality.
Jeff jumped feet first into the lap lane. How many thousands of times had he jumped feet first into this pool?
As Jeff swam, he remembered his summers at this pool when he was a kid. He practically lived here in summer. He had tons of memories and a photo album full of faded photos taken here.
His memories of this pool started with the first time his dad brought him here to play in the shallow end. A year later, he started swim lessons here—and wondered if he’d ever be good enough to jump off the diving board. There was his first jump off that diving board, when he had a mix of fear and excitement. There were the cannonball dive contests with friends. There was the path he wore in the field behind his house after countless trips to and from the pool. He spent several years on a summer swim team here. There were lots of team practices, followed by pizza with his friends. Some races he won, and some that he lost. His first crush was a lifeguard. His first job was teaching swim lessons here. As an adult, he swim laps here, until he moved an hour away to take a new job.
Time flew that afternoon. As it always had. Maybe this was the only thing that had never changed. And before he knew it, the session was over. This ended the last time he’d ever swim here. The last time anyone would swim here. This was the last session of the year. Next year, this pool would be replaced by a new pool. They’d start demolishing this old pool within a few days.
Jeff knew they needed a new pool. This pool was worn out. But...he felt sad. This pool had been such a big part of his life growing up. Soon this pool would only exist in memories and faded photos in photo albums.