A Formative Moment

by Katherine Seger

She was little, with ineffectual hands, and she was tugging at her mother's sleeve, but her mother was not looking at her, her mother was talking to her father, settling the towels over the chairs, reprimanding her three sisters, who were shouting, and the sounds of children screaming echoed off the walls and the water of the inside pool, and off the water drifted the smell of chlorine, and inside that smell and inside the walls the air was muggy, and she was tugging on a sleeve and saying, "I want my floaties now," but her mother wasn't listening, no one was listening, so she turned and jumped straight into the deep end.

In the water, there were no sounds, no smells, and it was cool. She felt heavy, but thought, "I'll just swim, it's easy," and so she moved her arms and legs, but still she was sinking and so she stilled to let it happen, and she saw the black grate over the drain as she drifted down toward it, as her bottom settled on it, and she looked up, through the water, and she was not afraid.

BIO: Katherine V. Seger is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana and currently attends Johns Hopkins University.