drafts — swim bag

March waits inside the ground floor entrance to the Rec Centre. It’s a glass box with brown floor mats and fluorescent lighting. She comes down here to wait for her mom after swim practice. Watching from here, she can see beyond the local road to the traffic turning in off the highway. She’ll know sooner that she hasn’t been forgotten.

Looking out past the spare tree line, March leans forward onto the window pane. She stands there like a statue, hair wet, skin chlorine-soft, a stomach thundering with hunger. Her mother is always late.

In the winter months, when it’s dark by the time she comes down, March follows intermittent pairs of yellow headlights as they crawl past the stop sign for the pool. She wills each pair to slow down, turn, and snake towards her.

She knows when she opens the door to the minivan her mom will smile and say “Marchy March, sorry sweetheart, dinner’s waiting for you in the microwave.” March will scowl and say nothing. With her pool bag in her lap, her swimsuit in its damp towel cocoon, she always suffers the same pang of annoyance, love and pure relief.