Lemonade

Pips floated to the top of the glass. I swirled them around to try to avoid swallowing them as I took a sip. It tasted different. Maybe Mum made it Irish again. I didn’t know why Mum had chosen today to make it. I didn’t know much of why Mum did anything nowadays.

The pool looked icy. My parents said they hadn’t been able to fix the heating. They haven’t ever been very good at fixing anything. That was three months ago. My friends haven’t come to visit since.

I liked to swim. I liked spinning and seeing my hair shimmer gold beneath the water. Since I turned thirteen, Mum hasn’t really cared whether I go in after I eat. Dad said I am old enough to be responsible for myself. He says he has to look after Camellia’s baby now, and since I’m not a baby anymore, I’ll be fine.

I jump in the pool. I went in with a splash. I checked to see if Mum had seen, but she’s staring at her seventh glass of lemonade. I swim on. The water is as cold as I had imagined it would be. I steered away from a spider that managed to stay afloat on the water’s surface. I could never kill spiders. I could have crushed them between my fingers a hundred times, but they always seem to bounce back.

I swim further into the deep end. I can’t see the bottom, but can almost sense the space between my feet and the blueish-green tiles. I try to move my legs like I am riding a bike. Mum says it’s called treading water. My feet are tired. Everything feels heavy. I close my eyes. I never did see how Mum made that lemonade. I drink in sickly chlorinated water and find my way to the tiles. I can feel them scraping on my knee. I take a breath.

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