I hang quietly in the garage. Alone. Dry. Forgotten.
All I have is time to reflect on the summer that was. For weeks, I was THE hot item. “Don’t forget this,” the boy would shout to his dad, as they headed for their daily trip to the pool. I would dangle delightfully from the boy’s outstretched arm, nearly dragging on the ground, bouncing with his every step. I was buoyant.
At the pool, I was king — wrapped snugly around his waist, the boy would run, run, run, run, jump and SPLASH! into the pool, his hands gripping me tightly while his legs fluttered in the water. It was run, jump, SPLASH!, run, jump, SPLASH!, over and over. He never tired and neither did I. We were inseparable — I kept him afloat; he kept me alive. My joy was endless.
At night, while I hung, exhausted in the garage, the final beads of pool water slipping off me and puddling on the floor, I relived the excitement, secure that tomorrow would bring another wet, wonderful day.
Then, without warning, it happened. The boy and his father emerged from the house in their swim trunks, towels in hand. I lifted myself higher, ready to be grabbed, squeezed and jostled. Ready for a new adventure. Ready for a date with my pal.
Instead, I was left deflated.
“Can I bring my inner tube?” the boy asked.
“No. At swim lessons, we don’t use an inner tube. We learn to swim without help,” the father replied.
Deflated. I slumped, useless, uncomfortably holding my back against the wall. I wished the cold, hard nail that I hung on would pierce my plastic and end my misery. As the days went on, the scene repeated. The boy left each morning clad in his swim gear and returned more and more confident. I tried to squirm and wriggle against the wall, hopeful that my friend would see me and throw me a sympathy swim. But it wasn’t to be.
“That was some awesome swimming today, pal,” the father said. “Your kicks are awesome and your arms are almost there. What is it that Coach Mike says?”
“Jump in, turn around, swim back to the wall,” the boy recited.
The boy beamed. It was then I knew my days were numbered. There was no stroking my ego. I was done, destined for the garbage. Until a thought came to me. The circle of life may continue yet. Even though the boy was on his way to becoming a champion swimmer, I had hope.
There’s a baby inside the house. Maybe he’ll need an inner tube someday.