The word around town was that the kid two streets over had jumped off the diving board the wrong way and broke his neck when he hit the water. He died, and the public swimming pool closed down shortly afterwards.
No one talked about the pool—or the boy—and we carried our thoughts (and fears) around with us like an overstuffed backpack for the rest of the summer. Two summers later the pool reopened. The diving board had been removed, though.
I wish I could say I went back and learned to swim, but I couldn’t bring myself to.
Ran Walker is the author of 24 books, the most recent of which is a novel in 100-word stories titled A BURST OF GRAY. He teaches creative writing at Hampton University and lives with his wife and daughter in Virginia. Twitter: @ranwalker. Website: ranwalker.com.