“What do you do if you can’t breathe?” he asked.
“You flail,” she said.
“What happens after that?”
“You sleep or you’re saved. Either way it’s not that bad.”
The boy jumped into the pool feet first. His sister watched him do it. Both didn’t know how to swim. They were alone.
The water was very cold and shocked his system. He held his breath and he rose. He exhaled and the escaping air pushed his face around. He explored the force holding him down. All of it felt fun.
It hurt to open his eyes but he wanted to see. He kept them open and watched the bottom of the pool rise. He felt the pressure in his head rise, too. He sat on the floor with empty lungs and felt invincible. He could hold it. Then he couldn’t.
The light became dark around the edges. The blue became gray. The black became negative. Tommy lost consciousness.
Rose watched until the water hushed. She went back to playing with her doll, Betsy. Betsy felt a little guilty for not saying anything, but Rose, her mother, knew best. And Rose felt fine about the whole thing. It was late afternoon on a Tuesday in September when Rose became an only child.