All Three Seated Around the Edge
The pool’s drained, said Dad.
The pool’s drained?
Come out and see.
My sister and I got up from the couch, following Dad through the broken screen door and onto the back deck.
Drained this early?
It’s September, it’s cold.
And there it was, an oval hollowed out in concrete casing, lined by a chain link fence and hedges roughened by weather. Above loomed steely clouds, shading the yard and all its contents. They made everything apart from us look drawn in pencil.
You’re right, it is cold.
Dad opened a can of diet pop that made a thin, spirant noise. He wore sandals and homemade tie-dye. He stood opposite of my sister, on the side of the deck with the gate. He studied my sister with eyes betraying age. They were joking about a movie.
Raindrops started falling in ones and twos.
They kept on.
He was looking at her as if he were her guest, feigning some appreciation so as not to be told to leave. They started talking about the Fibonacci sequence and to this I did not have much to say.
When you take a Fibonacci number and divide it by the number preceding it in the series you get a ratio which occurs everywhere in nature. When you plot it visually you get a perfect spiral.
Like a fractal? She asked.
Yeah, like those.
She stepped onto the diving board, approached the edge with raised heels, and looked straight down.
Why don’t you jump? I said.
Why don’t you stop being such a fag, she said.
After a pause, she squatted down, grabbed either side of the board, then dropped her legs over the end and sat.
A rush of wind threw dried leaves into the open air between us. They hung in the unfilled space above the pool’s fill line before falling slowly to its vacant bottom. They clung to the lining.
It’s gonna really come down, said Dad.
You ever seen The Virgin Suicides, you know, the one where the sisters make a suicide pact? You’d like it, my sister said.
It started really coming down.
And there we were, all three seated around the edge. We sat and talked through the rain. We talked about the movie and whether I’d seen it or imagined it.
While this went on I noticed Dad had gone quiet, so I looked over and caught him sitting with a downcast smile. He was struggling with it. He was staring down at the bottom of the pool, his hands planted on the lip. Whatever it was inside him looked out of words.
He sat, for a moment, watching the leaves descend into the drain’s mouth. Rainwater ran through the leaves, pouring into the trough gulp by gulp, making devouring sounds.
I left them there to drench.