The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Baby’s First Swim

The mother slowly hands her infant 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. Grandma sits by patiently, with an expectant hope that she’ll 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 boy to keep calm. The baby’s torso twists above the water as he 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, including a couple in love who tread together in the deep end. In lounge chairs: a British man covered in grey chest-belly-shoulder-hair and suntan oil, a man with a daiquiri, 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 strikes the water with a joyful fist, a mark of tiny triumph, a fear overcome.

–Ölüdeniz, Turkey

Turkish coast, swimming pool

6 comments on “Baby’s First Swim

  1. Reblogged this on The Nice Thing About Strangers and commented:

    Hope you’re having a happy summer full of “firsts”!

  2. joannerambling
    July 19, 2013

    I remember my sisters first time in the pool she screamed bloody murder…………

  3. hughcurtler
    July 20, 2013

    Wasn’t it Bill Cosby who said the baby should just be tossed in?

  4. Leya
    December 10, 2014

    you describe it so well. A lot of recognizing and smiles…

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