The Weight of Water by Michelle Elvy

Pop had the idea when I was around seven to sell bottled water. Everyone laughed at him, said he was nuts.

Which was true, mostly. He usually had one idea on the go, another in his back pocket. We were always up-and-coming. He started a swimming pool company once: we’d make it rich that way. We even built one in our backyard one summer, must have been ‘74 or ‘75. There are pictures of my oldest brother surveying the backyard, barely tall enough to peek through the lenses balanced on the orange tripod, and my other brother and me in the hopper, troweling aggregate smooth. Blonde kids up to their elbows in grey. When the water trucks came, we had not yet put the braces in behind the walls so they began to push out with the weight of the water. The bolts groaned as the sides nearly pulled apart. I didn’t know something so liquidy smooth could be so heavy. “Quick, grab what you can!” We hurriedly created our own landfill behind the walls, collected everything from our garage that we could find that was destined for the dump: old strollers, tents, games, trikes. So many items got buried that day. I still wish some hadn’t.

He’s long gone, Pop, and we moved away. But I loved that pool, skinny-dipped my way through my teen years with my best friend Beth.

Pop never did launch his water company. I reckon he should have.


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Filed under Michelle Elvy

7 responses to “The Weight of Water by Michelle Elvy

  1. randalhoule

    nice approach to the theme. I like it when you tell childhood stories. There is a lot more to “excavate” here. :)

  2. I like how the past bubbles up and explodes in this reminiscence, similar to the threatening collapse of the pool. Nice!

  3. Life is so dark without dreams, whether they come true or not. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Kim Hutchinson

    What an amazing voice in this, so generous to the cock-eyed dreamer that her father was. Beautiful and touching, as if bathed in soft, golden light.

  5. the last two paragrapsh were great.
    this felt real.

    • Len — Thanks for that observation: this IS real. Right from a page of my childhood. Sometimes the real stuff is the best stuff.

      Thanks Randal, Susan, Tom and Kim for taking the time to read. Some stories matter more than others; I’m glad you came to this one.

  6. Pingback: Week #40 – The money’s gone | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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