Blowing bubbles in milk always feels good. Gabriel blows bubbles in his milk after every swim meet. At the diner, his mom orders coffee, his dad orders tea, his sister orders a Coke and he asks the waitress for chocolate milk. Gabriel loves chocolate milk almost as much as he loves swim meets. Swimming always feels best.
As he waits for his family to choose, Gabriel decides that he has been swimming forever. His mom says he and Leah both learned together 8 years ago in Florida when he was 12 and she was 6, but he is certain he has always known how. He can't remember a time when he didn't.
In the summers, Gabriel loves prancing around on the warm concrete making wet prints with his toes. He wishes they could go to the swim club every day. It is his favorite place to swim. The water is so blue and so cold. He likes blowing bubbles in the water, too. After lunch, Gabriel heads to the snack bar for "one cherry snow cone, please." He likes the workers there. They never need him to repeat his words like the diner workers do, and always compliment him on his bright pink swim shirt.
During school, Gabriel's mom takes him to the Y for open swim on Saturdays. He doesn't like this as much because Leah won't come with them and there are no snack bar workers to watch. The water still makes him feel free and powerful, but it is warm. He likes the cold water best. After swimming, Gabriel heads to the locker room to get changed. He loves pretending the rough carpet is the outdoor pool deck. Walking on tip toes, he leaves patterns of dark gray spots on the light gray floor.
Gabriel is a real, grown up swimmer. He has been practicing hard his entire life. He isn't as fast as Leah, yet, but he made the high school swim team with her this year. Coach Pearson always tells Gabriel he is getting better at staying in his lane and that he is the best at smiling.
Gabriel drinks his chocolate milk and stares at his family staring at their menus. Gabriel realizes that, more than swimming or chocolate milk or anything, he likes knowing. He likes knowing that when the waitress comes back he will ask her for pancakes with cherry topping and whipped cream. Knowing feels the very best.
This piece is a work of fiction and was inspired by this week's The Speakeasy writing prompt. Click on the button below to read the prompt and the other beautiful writers who hang out there. Thanks!