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“Pool Girl”

She spends most mornings,
During the hot California summer,
Sitting out by the pool,
In the same lounge chair,
That always sits,
15-feet behind the deep end.
She likes to listen to her music,
On a small AM-FM cassette player.
She listens to a few,
Of the local rock stations,
But mostly,
She just plays cassettes,
That she keeps,
In a silver case,
Tucked underneath,
Her lounge chair,
To protect the tapes,
From the sun.
Her cassette player,
Uses 4 rechargeable,
D-size batteries,
Which would last,
Throughout the day.
Some day's she'd go down,
To the pool,
As early as 8:00 or 9:00am,
With a large,
Plastic cup of coffee,
And a book.
Though she never really read,
All that much,
As she liked watching,
All the morning people,
Scurry about,
On their way to work.
The pool sits in the middle,
Of a fairly large apartment complex,
Mostly young adults,
In their 20's & 30's.
It's 8:17am,
On a Wednesday morning,
The summer sun just starting,
It's up ward arc,
But the oversized arrow,
On the outside Thermometer,
Is already showing 77 degrees.
She's dressed in shorts,
A tank-top,
With a bikini top,
And bottom,
Under that,
And a pair of flip flops,
At the foot of her chair.
She has this,
Dark summer tan,
That you just can't buy,
In any pay by the month,
Tanning salon.
It was brought on slow,
And easy,
From the waning days of spring,
And the mild rays of sunshine,
That mark the beginning of summer,
To its mid-summer,
Natural golden glow,
That she has now.
She peeks over,
The top of her book,
At a lady,
Coming down the stairs.
She is dressed,
In a skirt and blouse,
That was of the,
Top tier of fashion.
As her heels hit,
The concrete corridor,
They echoed,
A loud striking sound.
Combined with that look,
And the air of confidence,
She had as she walked,
Down the hall,
You knew this lady,
Possessed a position of power,
In some upper branch of business.
She closed her book,
And reached down without looking,
And grabbed her coffee.
She sipped at it,
Waiting for another,
Tenant to come,
And hurry by.
She sets the coffee back down,
And pulls out the silver case,
From underneath her chair,
She looks through the tapes,
Trying to find,
Just the right one,
To match the current mood she's in.
She decides to go,
With something up beat,
The mixed tape entitled,
“Girls of Summer”,
It was all girl bands,
Or bands with female singers,
All from the 80's.
The opening cut was,
“This Town”,
By the Go-Go's.
She got a surge of energy,
As soon as the first Riffs,
Of the guitar track,
Came bouncing out of,
That little 3-inch diameter speaker.
A couple of guys,
In their early 20's,
Riding skateboards,
Dressed only in skate shorts,
And Vans sneakers.
Their shirts,
Tucked into the back,
Of their shorts,
Swinging left & right,
As they danced,
Their skateboards past her.
One calls out to her,
“Hey Pool Girl!”
“Love The Morning Jams!”
The other turns to face her,
And gives her a nod,
Holds his right hand,
Above his head,
Making a “Hang Loose” sign,
With his fingers,
Right before flipping,
His board into the air,
And landing perfectly,
On top of it.
The low rumble,
Of their boards,
Starts to trail off,
As the next song takes over,
At a slightly slower pace,
“If She Knew What She Wants”,
By the Bangles.
“Pool Girl”,
It was not the most elegant,
Or sexy of titles,
But more often than not,
It was how,
She was referred to,
In an about the apartment complex.
She pulls down her sunglasses,
Which had been sitting,
On top of her head,
Closes her eyes,
And lies back,
In the lounge chair.
The combination,
Of the music,
With the early morning sun,
And just the,
Wisp of a breeze,
Felt so completely balanced,
She thought she just might,
Float away.
A minute later,
She was knocked off,
That perfect wave,
By someone standing over her,
And blocking out the sun.
She opened her eyes,
Looking through her sunglasses,
Into the shadowed face,
Of the man,
That was hiding her sun.
He noticed,
What he was doing,
And took a few steps,
To his left.
“Oh sorry Rae”
He was one of,
The few people,
That called her by name,
Instead of the popular,
“Pool Girl” moniker.
He was shy to begin with,
But around her,
It was truly magnified.
But still,
He never missed an opportunity,
To say hi to her.
She knew he liked her,
But he was,
Nowhere near,
Her type of guy,
Though most days,
She couldn't tell you,
What that type was,
But she knew,
He wasn't it.
She always took her time,
With him,
Trying not to rush him,
And get him all flustered.
“Hey what's up Rick?”
“Oh, not much”,
Looking down and away,
As he spoke to her,
“Just wanted to say Hi”,
“And Hope you have a nice day”.
“Thanks Rick”,
“That's Sweet”.
He turned,
And started to walk away,
Feeling as if he had,
Just lost another battle,
In conversation.
She could sense this,
And hollered out,
“Oh Rick”,
“You look good in jeans”
She noticed right away,
His pride,
Into his steps,
And she felt,
Good about that.
The sun,
Now halfway down,
The length of the pool,
With which,
It travels parallel to,
Marking the change from,
The day's new beginning,
To the start of,
It's inevitable decline.
She stood up,
Put her sunglasses,
By the edge of the pool,
Pulled off her tank top,
And threw it on to,
The lounge chair,
She unbuttoned her shorts,
And let them slide down,
Her long tan legs,
Catching them,
On her left foot,
And flinging them,
With her left foot,
Onto her chair.
She stood over the pool,
Looking at her,
Distorted reflection,
On the surface,
Of the chlorinated pool water.
She waited a couple of beats,
For the pause in the music,
As the next track,
Began to play,
By the “Missing Persons”.
She dove,
Into the deep end,
Of the pool,
So perfectly,
That she left,
No more than a ripple,
Across the surface,
Of the water.
She swam the whole length,
Of the pool,
Keeping the beat,
Of the music,
In her head,
Till she got to,
The shallow end,
Still underwater,
She would crouch down,
On the pool floor,
And with her legs,
Propel herself into the air,
At just the right time,
To sing the refrain,
In sync,
With the music,
“What Are Words For”,
“When No One Listens Anymore”,
As she splashes back down,
Into the warm embrace,
Of the water.
She swims a few strokes,
Towards her sunglasses,
Grabs them,
And puts them on,
Pushes off the side,
Of the pool,
With her feet,
And just floats on her back,
Looking up,
A cloudless sky of blue.
She continues to drift,
Across the surface of the water,
Pushing off the side,
Of the pool,
With her fingers or toes,
Whenever she gets close,
To the edge,
Never looking anywhere,
But straight up,
Letting her mind,
Become as empty,
As the sky,
Above her.
Click, Click, Click,
She does a few backstrokes,
And she's to the stairs,
In the shallow end,
Of the pool.
Click, Click, Click,
The one annoying trait,
Of her portable,
AM-FM cassette player,
Was that,
At the end of the tape,
It just loudly clicked,
Till you flipped the tape,
Or pressed stop.
She made her way,
Up the steps,
And out of the pool,
The water,
Barely dripping off her,
By the time,
She gets to her lounge chair,
And the still clicking,
Cassette player.
She finishes drying her hands,
On the part of the beach towel,
Hanging from the top,
Of her lounge chair,
Hits the eject button,
Causing both,
The tape door to pop open,
And the clicking to stop.
She puts the tape,
In its own plastic cover,
Before returning it to,
The silver case.
She looks over,
All the tapes,
Trying to decide,
Just what to play next,
Instead she just closes the case,
She can tell by the sun,
It's getting late.
The freedom of the pool,
Is soon to be replaced,
By the sometimes,
Overwhelming responsibilities,
Of a single parent,
With a rebellious,
Teenage daughter,
Who is just,
Getting home from school,
And her own 3-hours,
Of on-line homework,
Trying to push herself,
Into a better job.
She takes her left foot,
And hooks her shorts,
Off of the chair,
And slides them back up,
Her slender legs,
And buttons them over,
Her now dry,
Bikini bottoms,
Grabs her tank top,
In her right hand,
Raising both her arms,
Straight above her head,
And lets the tank top drop,
A pond her shoulders.
She rolls up her towel,
And grabs both her,
Silver case,
And the AM-FM cassette player,
With her left hand.
She looks over at,
Her little oasis,
Wondering what she'd do,
Without it.
No matter how bad,
Yesterday was,
Or how terrible,
Tomorrow looks,
It's always there,
Just waiting for her.
She spins around,
Leaving the sun,
Behind her,
And starts walking,
Away from the pool.
She starts to,
Make her way,
Up the stairs,
When she hears,
Someone shouting,
She doesn't turn around,
Just raises her right hand,
High above her head,
And makes the,
“Hang Loose” sign,
With her fingers,
And smiles…

Tom Allen…03-30-2017…