Zoe’s swimming cap

by Cecilia Resio

The family consisted of four people: dark-haired mother more and more overweight,
very blonde father more and more cheerful, restless eight-year-old girl and subjugated four-year-old brother.
All happy, hurrying up in the morning.
Then something happened.
On the 26th December the very blonde father found the courage to announce his love
for another woman and his very firm intention to leave home,
his wife and periodically his children.
It was a painful decision, with the aggravating circumstances of unwrapping this truth
instead of a Christmas present.
Yesterday I took 28 children to the swimming pool. Here swimming is compulsory at primary school.
I have rolled up swimming caps, wiped heads, wrung out bathing costumes, tied laces.
But first of all I looked at her, one of the four I was handling,
her eyes lost inside a backpack.
What happens, Zoe?
My mother has forgotten about the cap, once again, my mother.
Never mind. I’ll find one for you.
Now Zoe’s eyes are damper than the tiles around the showers.
I wanted my cap.
And I am going to find a magic cap that when you wear it you become as silent as a fish
and as quick as a dolphin that runs after ships.
Zoe smiles and says it isn’t true, it isn’t true.
I told her that it was true instead, provided she believed it.
Then I went in search for the cap and I reflected upon abandonments, omissions
and wrecks.

I wrote this a few years ago and I left it to settle inside a notebook.
This afternoon I’ll go back to the swimming pool. Things have changed.
Zoe’s mother is in great shape and smiles,
while her very blonde father looks more and more tired and nervous.
Zoe and her brother are fine and the swimming cap is always where it should be.
Life changes, as silently as a fish.