I look up to this young woman. Her uniform is a dirty red bikini with a fanny pack full of first aid supplies. She stands on her platform and makes the last announcement of the day through a megaphone. I feel a big "whoo-hoo!" rise up out of me, as dirty red bikini gathers her things. Nine year old Atlantis and her little brother, Roman are visiting from the Eastcoast. I see my smile reflected back at me through her shining blue eyes. "What is it?" Atlantis asks, "What did she just say?"
"The lifeguards are gone," I say. "We can dive off the dock." Roman had been called out of the water earlier by the lifeguard. I watched in amusement as the stocky 2nd grader was made to read the rules. He looks up at me now like I had just handed him a pirate's treasure chest. "We can do whatever we want? Whoo-hoo!" We all run across the sand from the lifeguard stand to the water and swim to the floating dock. First, we rock the dock. Then, we dive. Some kids do flips. The dock is in the shade, so I dive off and head for the log. At 6 o'clock, something magical seems to happen to Lake Pend Oreille. The water, which had been so refreshing all day long, feels warmer. The beach gets quiet as parents leave with their little ones and old people go home to dinner. The lake gets calmer too, like all of those boats just ran out of gas at 6 o'clock.
I pull myself up on the floating log that is loosely anchored to pilings demarking the border between the swimming area and the boating area. I sit facing West, soaking up the sun that will not set until 8 o’clock. I watch the kids playing king of the dock. There is a lot of pushing and a lot of laughter and no injuries. Someones mom makes an alarmed sound from the beach, but no one can make out what she said. Horseplay reigns in that golden hour. I watch some Russian boys with big smiles balancing and knocking one another off the log next to mine. There are signs posted "no standing on logs." Therefore,that is all I can think about: standing tall and diving off this log. I make several unsuccessful attempts to stand on the slippery log before swimming back to the dock. It's Sunday after all, no need to try too hard at anything on a Sunday. Roman has a twinkle in his eye. "I am going to push you off," he says. "Oh, you wanna wrestle with me?" I ask. We lock arms and smile at one another. Rory catches my eye from the beach. "Caleb and Gabrielle, Dad is waving us in. We have to go now." I say. Gabrielle is disappointed, "Aw, mom!" A tall girl who had done the majority of successful shoving on the dock looks at Gabrielle and asks incredulously, "Is THAT your MOM?" "Yup, that's my mom!" Gabrielle gives me a squeeze. Roman manages to push me in as I prepare to dive. Splash! I come up to see Roman jumping up and down, cheering for himself. “You got me!” I said. And I meant it, he got me. They all did—dirty red bikini, Atlantis, Roman, the tall girl, the Russian boys –they got a piece of my heart where they will live at the end of a Summer day forever.