A mother and aunt slowly hand over the very young baby to his father, who waits in the shallow end of the hotel swimming pool. The baby wears a diaper and a cloth head wrap like a chef would wear. Grandma sits by with an expectant wait to be needed. The baby fusses and cries as his legs enter the water. Yet, the father holds his son, smiling and making happy faces in order to help his son calm down. The baby’s torso twists above the water as it weeps. His mother flinches to take him back, but the father blinks in reassurance.
Watching baby’s first dip are his family and a cast of guests: a couple in love who tread together in the deep end, and in lounge chairs a British man covered in grey chest-belly-shoulder-hair and sun tan oil, next to a girl holding up a fashion magazine. But everyone has openly broken from their reveries, their romantic gazes, their trend-seeking, in order to catch the baby shifting from tears to giggles. From anxious first kicks to yielding. The baby clings closer while his father walks him safely across the pool. The leisurely gathering laughs as the baby hits the water with a joyful fist, a mark of tiny triumph, a fear overcome.