Standing over her youngest sons’ sleeping body, Debbie reflects on the similarities between him and her firstborn. Both are short in stature, big in personality and up to any challenge.
Reaching down to ruffle Bobby’s hair, she makes a mental note to take him to get a buzz-cut at the barber’s after lunch.
“Hey sleepy-head, you gonna’ sleep all day? Don’t forget, it’s your last day of summer vacation! Daddy and James have already left for the swim meet downtown. As soon as you eat breakfast, and make up your bed, we’ll head to our pool.”
“Uh-huh, I’m awake.”
Rolling over, he instantly becomes alert with the growing realization that school starts the next morning.
I’ve just gotta’ swim across the pool today!
Mama shuffles across the room in comfy slippers, flipping on the light switch to the overhead-light-ceiling fan as she leaves.
The blinding light hurts Bobby’s half-opened eyes; rubbing them, he wiggles out from under his Batman cover. Seeing the unmade bed through sleepy eyes, he makes an effort to pull up the top sheet and cover before tossing on his pillow.
Still groggy, he goes to the hallway bathroom and takes a quick hot shower. Bobby slips into his favorite red swimming trucks, left by him hanging on the back of the door yesterday. Finishing, he slips a white Hoodie over his head, zipping it up halfway, knowing he’ll need its warmth later.
“Mmm, good breakfast Mama!”
“Thanks, took the time to fix you a big breakfast; tomorrow it’s back to Eggos’....
I switched the TV to the Cartoon Network in the den for you. Watch cartoons and let your food settle, while I load the dishwasher.”
A half hour later, Bobby stands in the shallow water of the condominium pool, peering ahead to the other side. To a six-year-old, it seems like swimming clear to China. With trepidation, he begins to doggy paddle in hopes he can somehow impress his older brother James.
Fearful, but gaining in confidence, his tongue protrudes from his lips. That usually helps when working on a project. He wants to swim to the end of the pool more than anything he can think of. Kicking both stubby legs, he splashes water in every direction.
Wonder if it’s time for James ta’ get back.
His leg muscles are tightening as his arms grow heavy; yet, he persists in doggy paddling. Mama watches him swim while lounging at the side of the pool with a glass of iced tea. She wipes condensation from the glass as she calls out.
“Careful, Bobby; you don’t wanna’ get a leg cramp! You hear me?”
Taking a deep breath to regain strength, he says, “I’m okay, Mama!”
What if she makes me get out?
The goal is in sight; it’s too late to turn back now. He has only two choices. He can keep swimming forward, toward the finish line at the deep end, or swim to one of the sides for safety, to exit in defeat.
James ken’ do it. So ken’ I!
He touches the end of the pool with trembling hands and begins making the climb up slick steps at the side. Before he is atop, he hears a shout.
“Bobby! I seed you!”
Breathless, James has run from the parking lot to congratulate his little brother.
“I seed you! I seed you!”
With a smile, clapping, he makes his way towards Bobby. His flip-flops are making squishing noises on the wet concrete announcing his arrival. Mama excitedly takes pictures with her mobile phone as the two sons embrace one another.
“Mama, ju’ see what Bobby done?”
“Yes, I sure did! Bobby you swam all the way to the end! I am so proud of you!”
Daddy joins in the celebration, giving Bobby a big bear hug as James twirls his coveted Special Olympics gold medallion around his neck....
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