The kids had been on their best behaviour all week. Well, ‘best’ was subjective, but even Callum had tried to stay out of trouble. It was the first weekend of spring, and whilst the nights still had the fresh nip of winter, everyone agreed that it would be warm enough for a day at the pool on the swim season’s opening weekend.

The previous weekend included a treasure hunt for swimming costumes and board shorts, stashed under the tracksuit pants and jumpers that had been necessary throughout winter.

Daisy had put a list on the fridge with “pool day” in big letters. She had put stars down one side and the list included towels, sunscreen and hats. In jagged writing down the bottom of the piece of cardboard, Tynan had added “toys” and “fun”. Daisy wasn’t impressed by the additions, and wanted to know how they could pack fun into the car. Tynan had shrugged. ‘Just pack me!’

Tynan had busied himself going through the toy boxes on the back verandah, heaping up piles of things that he thought could float. Daisy, channeling her older sister authority, had sorted through the pile, saying there was only room for two toys each. When Tynan objected, she reminded him of his purple pool noodle, which had been lost or picked up by someone else during the last swimming season. Tynan shrugged and went along with Daisy’s suggestion. She was usually right.

There was a rumbling thunderstorm the night before the big day, and Mum had suggested that it might not be pool weather but Saturday morning dawned bright and clear. Tynan turned up for breakfast in his board shorts with a snorkel in hand, his rashguard wrapped around his waist like a toga. Callum had laughed at him, then agreed to show him how to snorkel this year. It had been a promise from the previous season, and Tynan had a great memory for things like that.

After breakfast, they helped to pack the car with the stash of towels, sunscreen, water bottles, snacks, pool noodles and the curated selection of toys. Tynan was wriggling and giggling as they tumbled into the car, for once happy to sit between his older brother and sister, his joy infectious in the closed space.

From the car park, the thumping bass beat of a sound system could be heard, and a single pink balloon floated lazily above the entrance.

‘Quick! I want to get out!’ Tynan was wiggling his arms, his little legs kicking back and forth. Daisy and Callum looked over his head at each other and grinned. In unison, they started to tickle Tynan, their laughter filling the car. Then as the car pulled into a parking spot, they opened the doors and Callum released the wriggling, giggling Tynan from the car seat and they tumbled out, pausing only to grab their bags from the boot of the car before running towards the pool entrance, ready for a great day out.

This piece was written to a prompt on the Writer’s Digest website. A Day at the Pool: set your story at a public pool. I was reminded of the joy of anticipation in a recent update from by Judy Reeves.

Photo: Olympic Pool at Portland, NSW