When gravity takes over

I was eleven years old and an independent. Bored and hot at the barbeque, I walked down the hill to a public pool. It was not yet open for the season, but the water was pouring in from a large spicket in the deep end. The pool operator had straightened the pool furniture, swept away the leaves, and placed the diving boards on their posts.The rush of the racing, cold water was irrisistable.

I began to scale the fence, which was a good strong barrier but not climb-resistant. It was so easy to go up, up, up and over. Landing lightly, I glanced around. The canopy of trees between the pool and my backyard protected me from being seen.

It was a cool thing to walk around the pool all by myself. But I needed more.

I stepped up on the low dive and began walking out toward the end of the board. Suddenly the board began to tip. Like a teeter-totter, when I crossed the middle of the board it tipped into the pool because it wasn’t secured to the post! I knew what was happening but couldn’t back up. Gravity won and I flew into the air.

I came down hard into the three feet of water pooling at the bottom of the deep end, and remained there a moment, stunned and submerged.

Fully soaked, I had to swim-crawl out of the deep end and clamber up onto the deck. It was a big splash. Had anyone heard? I attempted to wring out my pink and aquamarine shirt and matching pants. It was hopeless.

I stole back silently to my backyard and hid behind a tree. The grown-ups were laughing and drinking. I crept from tree to tree until I reached the front door, turned the knob and…

oh no. It was locked.

I rang the doorbell and peeked from the side of the house, praying that my mother wouldn’t come to the door. I was so in trouble. Oh thank goodness. One of my mom’s friends opened the door and her eyes grew big. My heart was pounding as I approached her and waited.

“Why, Sara! Did you run into a rainstorm?”

“Please don’t tell anyone!” I ran inside, upstairs and into my room where I changed into dry clothes.

She never said a word to me about it. Not that day, not ever. I loved this woman.

Out back, I claimed I’d just had a shower. One of the guests looked at me with doubt in his eyes. Not feeling well, I went back upstairs until the party was over.


36 thoughts on “When gravity takes over

  1. This is a great post. It captures so well being young, bored, and maybe just a little too curious. It sure led to some epic adventures, didn’t it?

  2. kgwaite says:

    Very nice post – Terrific woman, to keep your secret!

  3. Mayor Gia says:

    Hahha a cool friend! It’s good when they know when its not worth causing trouble over.

  4. I was so frightened at first it would be worse than it was. Amazing how as kids we focus on the embarrassment and getting caught, oblivious to actual danger averted.

    • skpadilla says:

      Years later I realized how badly it could have gone had I walked out on the diving board and there had been NO WATER in the pool. But at the time, I just worried about getting caught! Thank you for reading!

  5. Larks says:

    I like how you captured the “Eh, I’m not supposed to and totally don’t want to get in trouble but… I JUST HAVE TO FOR NO GOOD REASON!” of being a kid. Yay for your mom’s friend. I wonder if she actually did tell your mom and then your mom kept the secret too. Nice post!

  6. mamarific says:

    I’m just so glad you weren’t hurt, falling in that pool with no water!! That’s the mother in me! 🙂 Love your mom’s cool friend. Always good to have one of those around.

  7. iasoupmama says:

    Ohmigosh! So glad that you didn’t get hurt… I had visions of you landing in not enough water or the board coming forward and smacking you on the head. And the friendly lady is awesome! I hope that you send her some chocolates or something just because…

  8. mamamzungu says:

    Yeah, it’s a good thing you didn’t get hurt. I was kind of afraid that was where the story was going when I started to read. But nice memory of a kindness by your moms friend.

  9. raisingivy says:

    Very well told! My maternal instincts were screaming out for you to stop; so glad you didn’t drown or break a bone!

  10. You were very lucky! I used to sneak into the Stanford pool with friends when I was in HS but there was always plenty of water. I was scared when I read this!! Nice of your friend to keep your secret.

  11. beckybreitmaier says:

    Who was the guest with doubt in his eyes?

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4GLTE smartphone

  12. wcdameron says:

    I remember when I was ten years old, trying to be the big man and carry down a huge trash can of left over spaghetti from a church dinner, tripping and being covered in spaghetti. I felt exactly as you did and felt it all over again with your well told story.

  13. The mama in me was shouting “no!” The kid in me completely felt your curiosity and panic. Love your mom’s wise and kind friend – hoping for one of those for my own girls! Nice job!

    • skpadilla says:

      I was fortunate to have many adult “friends” and mentors…. friends of my parents that I could turn to instead of going to mom and dad. Thank you so much for reading!

  14. Oh what a story!
    It is definitely very cool to have a “grown-up” keep your secret. I’m not so sure that I would be that cool! 😉

  15. I was afraid you were going to get really hurt when that thing tipped. I’m glad it was nothing more than embarrassed, and your Mom’s friend was SO COOL. Couldn’t you just have choked your Mom for locking the door?

  16. Thank goodness you didn’t get hurt! I was afraid that was where this was going. I can’t believe you didn’t get caught. I’d love to know what the adults who saw you really thought.

  17. That is a friend worth keeping! Cool lady. Fun story.

  18. Very cool story. Took me back to my younger days of mischief!!

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