The Slide

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Memory:  I was 10 years old. Visiting my grandmother in Ohio, we all went to a large outdoor pool, with a twisting waterslide with very high walls where for five glorious seconds there was nothing but sun beating down on wet hair and water surrounding a slippery body sliding down, down, down within the walls of this plastic tube, where for a moment, it was possible to be anywhere that this scenario could exist. Shy and alone, my first experience was affected by a loud boisterous child a year or two older singing “I believe I can fly” who slid down in front of me, splashing and laughing with his friends. I watched, invisible. There was something attractive about this skinny freckle faced boy and the whole situation and when I heard his name I rolled it around on my tongue and whispered it aloud to myself in the five seconds of solitude as I slid after him, tumbling and falling. There, for those long five seconds I re-lived over and over until it grew dark, I was not in Ohio, I was not with my family – I was another, away, across, in love, confident and assured and I flipped my chlorine hair and shook my sunburnt shoulders and whispered his name again and again and again.

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