Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The Butterfly Hours Memoir Project: CHLORINE

For 2019 I'm running a year-long series on my blog in which I share my responses to the writing assignment prompts found in THE BUTTERLY HOURS by Patty Dann.

I welcome you to join me, if you like! I've divided the prompts by month, and the plan is to respond to 3 (or so) a week. For some of these I may write poems, for others prose. The important thing is to mine my memory. Who knows where this exploration will lead?

In January I wrote about: apron, bar, basketball, bed, bicycle, birthday, boat, broom, button, cake, car.

Here are February's prompts: chair, chlorine, church, concert, cookbook, couch, dancing, desk, dessert, dining room table, diploma.


My friend Kim was a competitive swimmer, which meant her family had a membership at a country club (in Mandeville, Louisiana). It also meant Kim was at that country club several times a week, swimming laps and learning breathing and diving techniques. 

Photo by Jay Wennington on Unsplash
Once (when I was 11 or 12) she invited me to come to the pool with her – not for practice; just for fun. I'd never been to a country club, so I was enchanted by how fancy the building and the (indoor) pool was. I didn't even mind the thick, warm smell of chlorine, which made my chest feel heavy and like my lungs had to work extra-hard. I couldn't wait to try out the slide. First thing I did was climb the stairs, lower myself onto my belly, and push myself head-first down the slide. The heated water pressed against my eyelids and streamed through my hair. It was exhilarating – until my head scraped against the bottom of the pool. 

When I popped out of the water, my scalp was bleeding, and a clump of long blond hairs lay tangled in my fingers. The lifeguard rushed me to the first aid room where he applied pressure to stop the bleeding, antibiotic ointment to prevent infection, and dry ice to diminish the swelling. Kim stayed with me the whole time, and we were already concocting the funny story we would tell my parents. But as the life guard pressed the dry ice pack to my injury, the plastic busted. My breath caught and I held back a scream as the dry ice leaked out and burned my skin. “I just want to go home,” I cried. I recovered fine, but I never swam again at Kim's pool. 

So, kids, if you're reading this: please don't go down a pool slide headfirst!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your thoughts?