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Suburban Island

Pieces of You - Under Water
Saturday, Mar. 29, 2003, 1:25 p.m.

Question: I wonder what color that lipstick is?

What I Learned: Friendship is like a suburban swimming pool.

One of the March Pieces of You writing prompts is this beautiful National Geo photo. Here's where it took me...

Friendship can be a peaceful respite. It might be as simple as sitting under a soft blue sea sharing a lipstick and nowhere to go except to enjoy the day. It might as refreshing as filtered sunlight pouring down in a rippling band of shade and light while you share small details of the day. It might be as calming as sitting in a field of high grass as the world swishes and rushes by without ever saying anything at all.

In the summer a tranquil moment in the hot spot of the day can be diving under the water and resting at the bottom for one exhilarating moment. Everything in the real world filtered through a soft rippled cover of sunlight-tipped water. Everything going in slow motion even the noisy world of the neighborhood swimming pool. Then you would leap up and the world was yours again loud, and bright, and fast.

When I was a kid I used to love to swim. In the summer my parents would take us to the pool and the day would slide away at the same pace as the sun slipped towards the horizon. In the afternoon, the sun was fiercely shining, terrifying dragonflies shot across the sky, and the coolest place in the middle of a hot summer day was that shimmering pool of water that was crowded with kids, and littered with parents defiantly swimming through it all or dragging kids along behind them as if they had morphed into water ponies when their feet hit the water. All was punctuated with lifeguards whistling and the Top 40 music pouring out of the speakers mounted outside of the pool offices. But submerged beneath the chlorine-saturated blue was a muffled quiet that was magical and edged with the delightful echo of the sounds above.

This is how it must feel to be a mermaid even if just for a minute.

This is how it feels to have a friend to dive into when the noise of the world becomes to loud, and the stress too hot to handle.

No lipstick required.

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