Resurfacing through ripples of water, she splutters and looks around as if to ask, “How’d that happen?”
I shrug as she eases herself up onto the riverbank and she sticks her tongue out before composing herself, arms outstretched, head lowered.
She dives again. No splash.
We spend the day this way. I lie in the grass, drowsy in the heat, listening as she breaks the surface of the water, over and over.
Tomorrow she’ll leave. But she knows not to say she’s been swimming in the river.
We understand now how these things work. The things that are better left unsaid.
Perhaps if I had understood this earlier, things would be different. Who knows?
For now I’ll take this calm. We both will.
Yesterday’s question still hangs in the air.
“Dad? Can I stay a few more days?”
And I reply without thinking.
And we’d both paused. Remembering things don’t work this way anymore.
“We can always ask her?” she says.
The reply had buzzed back immediately. Jittering angrily across the table.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea, do you?”
I have yet to reply.
No point in spoiling our fun just yet.
She takes a run up and whoops before hitting the water. Dive bomb.