Thursday, November 30, 2017

Relief and Tradition, Katy Comber

by Katy Comber

A sigh
A breeze 
A gulp
A hug 
An “I love you, too.”

A coke, just a sip,
a swallow to satisfy 
the addiction allowance

The perfect sentence.

A promise fulfilled 
A lifetime vowed 

A LEAP into freshly laundered covers 
still warm from the dryer 
after the longest day

The unleashing of a secret 
strapped to the yoke too long
An answer to a question
that tied the tip of the tongue 

Laughter after the joke 
The pin drop silence before the slap of applause 
And that Helping Hand just because

by Katy Comber

Trembling. I held her hand. We looked at the icy water below. In my mind I was cursing tradition. Don’t ef with tradition. One of my brother-in-law’s colloquialisms for living that my husband often quotes far too often for it to be someone else’s anymore, comes to mind. First day the pool opens, every year, my daughter wakes up as she does on Christmas morning. Bright eyed. Alert. By breakfast, she’s counting down the minutes until the community pool opens and eating scrambled eggs in last year’s bathing suit. This year it is not quite 70 degrees outside. But. Tradition. You don’t ef with tradition. 

We warm up by playing tennis at the high school. When noon rolls around, we leave and as the car brakes and parks, she bolts. A flash of neon pink, a jumble of elbows and kness, toward the pool. We all reluctantly follow. A parade of fools. Happy laughing fools. The neighbors peer out and shake their heads. I wonder if this is their tradition too. The Comber parade of floats and towels trailing behind and gathering strands of grass from the first mowing. We enter the code and pass through the gate that declares we will be swimming at our own risk. No lifeguard on duty. 

Then. She grabs my hand. I kick off my shoes as she races me over to that deep end side. We stare down. Our toes curl over the precipice marked with a large number 5. Okay. Kid. We got this. Tradition, right? Her wide eyes stare back as she nods. Solemn. Serious, but radiant. In this moment, like so many these days, she makes me wonder in delight of her. Her being. The personification of joy. An eight year old version of my mother and my sister. All this in a millisecond burst of pride. In nonverbal agreement we grin and nod. “Okay. Here we go. 1.2.3 JUMP!” 
The icy chill shocks my system. I feel it in my bones. Water fills my ears and nose. I burst out and up to the surface. Teeth chattering. I’d swear my skin is tinged blue. Then, a moment of panic. The cool water is seemingly empty with the exception of my shivering body. I look for her. Nowhere. Where is she? A crackle of laughter above me answers my question. I am alone in the frozen pool. The joke’s on me and the joker is warm and swaddled in a towel that is perfect, fluffy, and dry.