Friday, May 03, 2013

Labor Day: An Excerpt

The following is an excerpt from my short story "Labor Day":

The chaos before him, the swinging limbs and the splashing water, along with the din of children’s screams, had dissolved into a warm bright haze. The lowering sun and the drink in his hand had turned the whole pool scene into a washed out blur. Labor Day at the neighborhood pool and by all means he should hate it. Forced cordiality, child wrangling, his soft pale paunch hanging slightly over his shorts. He sat some distance from it all. The kids were lost in the throng. He had only to raise a glass to the familiar faces with forgotten first names. And in his semi-reclined position, he would look better. At least it would look like none of it mattered to him. 

His wife was the master at this. Molly knew all the right things to say. She remembered their names, their interests, and could engage them in the sort of light and polite conversation that was safe on an afternoon such as this. Molly had opted to stay home. Laundry and housecleaning. Fair enough. He’d have rather sat in the privacy of his den, the solitude of his garden, but he could do it.

Their children, Mark and Mae, were not of an age where they could be put on their bikes and sent to the pool by themselves. Still, they didn’t require much when they were there. Especially if they had friends to play with.

He’d taken advantage of two adult swims, while the kids huddled under towels, to swim the length of the pool a few times, awakening muscles rarely stirred, and then turned to float on his back. With his ears submerged, the whole world became the sky above him. He floated and heard nothing.

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