• Mehek Boparai

april in california | thoughts while i swam

my mother told me the lightbulb in our pool has finally given out. the pastel mermaid painted on the side of the minivan and the man who drives it no longer comes around to check the pH levels of the water anymore, my dad said he stopped visiting the clinic on Thursday nights too. our neighbor thinks he might have colon cancer but i stand at the decline into the deep end and convince myself he is doing alright. it’s a bit more difficult to see underwater but the light from the kitchen mirrors itself into fractals on the pool floor, creating and recreating spaces as i swim laps. i tried to sit at the bottom and see the spaces imprint patterns on my own skin but i was never quite good at holding my breath. if i was, maybe we could’ve had a tea party underwater. does a tea kettle still whistle seven feet under the surface? i had dreams here a long time ago, before i knew you, about letting the skin of my fingertips prune up until the broken skin around my nail beds purpled. i wonder if i still don’t know you. because when i go underwater and try to recite the lyrics to my old favorite songs, i can’t stomach the first verse before breaking for air. you were right, there’s nothing remarkable about a nineteen year old girl with too much chlorine in her hair. i ask my mother to leave the kitchen lights on anyway.

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