By: Rebeka Singer
Cindy, fourteen, poolside, flexes her toes in that aqua blue. Tommy strides by like he’s something but he knows he’s something—something to Cindy, something to the gaggle of older girls picking at french-fries at the picnic tables by the pool. The whistle shrieks and it’s adult swim. Cindy stands up and looks at Tommy striding by the pool. Cindy picks at her damp two-piece, bows at the shoulders. The girls at the picnic tables giggle and shriek and pick at their French fries and ponytails.
The girl with a long blonde ponytail picks at her skin. The girl, summer bronzed and bone-thin.
The girls bat their hands at her, pout, and bat their eyes at Tommy.
Tommy looks at Cindy and Cindy picks at her two-piece, shimmying the two-piece to show her hipbones. Bronze skin, fourteen, above those bones. Tommy’s a tease, summer bronzed and pouting. Tommy strides up to the girls at the picnic tables and skims the blonde’s shoulders. She bats away his hand, teases, and tiptoes her fingers along his shoulder blades. The girls giggle and shriek and pout and pick French fries and skin around summer and Tommy. The whistle shrieks poolside.
Cindy by the pool waits for next summer.
Originally published in The Fat City Review, November 2013.
“Cindy By The Pool” began as an exercise in language but quickly developed into a short narrative about teenage identity and longing. The story was prompted by a challenge to write a 200 word narrative using only 50 different words; thus, the repetition. (The final product bends those guidelines for the sake of clarity.) “Cindy By The Pool” is simple enough, however, for me, its core speaks to the complexities of human disappointment and desire.