My chubby little toes burnt slightly on the slasto, the elastic of my bikini riding up over one buttock, showing pink skin next to brown. My mother and grandmother sat under umbrellas, watch us as we jumped and splashed and screamed. The sun on my back felt warm and familiar, the water splashes on my face cool and refreshing.

Beneath the sparkling, undulating water lay my fascination. A dolphin, as big as a car, made up of tiny blue squares, little tiles embedded on the bottom of the pool, beckoning me. My brother jumping into the water caused the dolphin to flick its tail as though saying ‘Come on’.

So I did.

I leapt into the water, my three year old body spread and splashing. My head went below the surface of the water, cool on my face. My little arms and legs pumped like mad when I suddenly realised that missing were my bright orange arm bands. My head surfaced as my mother and grandmother turned to see what the splashing was all about. Standing up, but not leaping to my rescue was my mother.

 

“You got in,’ she said, “you can get out’. My grandmother’s face was aghast as I sank below the water once more, kicking and flailing. This time as my head surfaced my mother was standing closer to where I was glugging and spluttering but still telling me to swim out.

She knew I could. And I did.

With great pride I swam to the steps and got out of the pool. Before an adult could get near me, I leapt in again, proud of my new ability to swim.

 

Water and I had made friends.

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