Brenda Peynado
Swimming Lessons

Brenda Peynado - Swimming Lessons

Creative Nonfiction
Brenda Peynado has work appearing or forthcoming in The Threepenny Review, Black Warrior Review, Pleiades, Cimarron Review, and others. She… Read more »
Erika Kleinman
Their Names

Erika Kleinman - Their Names

Creative Nonfiction
Erika Kleinman has work published or forthcoming in The Rumpus, The Apple Valley Review, and Salon. She is essays editor… Read more »

Swimming Lessons

Brenda Peynado

Your parents believed in infant swimming lessons, in pool water that cushioned you like a womb, smooth with clarity. Once a week, they held you underwater to see bubbles released from your nose, then brought you up to air, your arms and feet kicking like again you were born. Months later, you can swim like a little frog. They graduate you from the class with fanfare and baby-safe balloons.

Two years later, you remember none of it. Your parents throw a party, everyone grilling or swimming or running in the backyard. It is easy to forget you. When you fall in the pool, no one notices. In dreams you still have now, you remember falling like this: You walk on the bottom of the pool, adults’ legs kicking in the blue in a slow ballet, mica ground into the walls glittering and pockmarked. It’s like walking on the skin of the moon. The world hovers in a deep silence. The steps, shining aquamarine with tile, waver in front of you. A net on a long pole plunges into the water, extends towards you, lifts you towards the surface. You are smiling.

Your father tells you a different version. When… Read more »