We almost moved into an apartment complex, before deciding to rent this house. It was one of those large, sprawling beige places, with a large gleaming and terraced pool, flagstone walkways, a full-service gym with a yoga studio, a clubhouse with a Keurig, leather couches, a two-story fireplace, and complimentary breakfasts on the weekends.
Living there would have been like living in a slightly upscale business class hotel, but we couldn’t wrap our heads around actually settling in there. The thought of swimming in the pool on slow summer days was enticing, I could almost smell our wet skin (high tide, chlorine, and chemical coconut) and hear our flip-flopped feet as we walked the garden path back to our building. The pool would have been filled with other families – our neighbors. There would have been pale-skinned middle aged men with tufts of brown hair in odd places on their bodies; the small of their backs, or covering their shoulder blades like wings. Once back at our apartment, cool and dark from the air conditioning and the drawn mini-blinds, I would make Xander a hot dog (after pulling it from the stainless steel refrigerator), put on a pot of coffee, wipe up our wet footprints off of the small marble foyer floor.
We chose to live here instead. Our windows are large, and allow giant streams of sunlight to pour in throughout the day. Our pool is the YMCA, which we must drive to. All inclusive living would have been convenient, but it would not have been nearly as bright and beautiful as this home has been to us.
When we were at the ocean last week, our beach blanket and umbrella just a few feet away on either side by great numbers of tourists, I thought about how swimming in the ocean is kind of a reverse evolution. We’ve torn up the Earth, with our big cars and big white homes. We complicate our lives with small worries, but when we swim in the sea, our skin, muscle, bone and blood kind of dissolve and merge back in the water, where we came from.
At the pool today, there was a young girl with a green mermaid tail made of lycra and spandex. Before entering the water she would sit on the concrete side of the pool, push her small legs together, and encase her legs into the contraption. She would then drop clumsily into the shallow end, and swim up to the surface, flicking her pretend fins above the water every stroke or two.
There are some who claim their childhoods, in their respective decade and generation, were the best childhoods that have occurred in the history of time itself. These modern children have the short end of the stick, they don’t know the simple pleasures of the past. They lack imagination.
Apparently they’ve never seen a ten year old mermaid.