A Spot Not Blue

Leah Sackett

He pushed through the crowd of kids hanging about the edge. It was summer, but it was 7:30 in the morning. The water was freezing. He jumped into the warm blue air, splashing down into the cold blue water; by the end of the swim lesson his lips would be turning blue. But here he could move unfaltering and uninhibited. He was in my world. And the summer played on with the vast blue skies and my blue pool of water, until my paint chipped. I was revealed an ugly spot by the drain. He nudged me with his big toe. He might have been the one to chip my blue paint. The illusion broke as he realized the water was just clear, water without color. The pool itself, me, was painted blue. This bothered him beyond measure, a dark spot waiting for discovery. He became obsessed with the chipped spot. He stopped swimming. He just floated around this mar in a world of purity. No one else noticed, nor cared.

He would swim down to get a closer look at my blemish, which marked him. This blight revealed me, the pool, the summer, the vacation to be a lie. Once when he dived in, there was an old Band-aid stuck to me. It waved in the currents of the forced water. He picked at it. My spot was a weakness, and little bits of the foundation easily broke off and floated away. One day while underwater examining the spot, something blotted out the sun. He swam to the surface to see what was casting a shadow over us. It was a lifeguard, and he wanted to know what the boy was about. Later that afternoon, his mother appeared at my edge. She came from work in her nylons and heels looking hot, like she might melt, to pick him up. He was banned from me. The lifeguard claimed he had vandalized the pool, and the mother would have to pay for the necessary repairs. He stared into a patch of blue sky. His mother moved to look into the blue expanse of me, demanding an explanation. I had none that I could give voice to, and he could not explain his obsession with my scar, the deception of a blue illusion, the sophistry of himself.

Leah Sackett is an adjunct lecturer in the English department at the University of Missouri, St. Louis.  This is also where she earned her M.F.A. Her short stories explore journeys toward autonomy and the boundaries placed on the individual by society, family, and self.  She has published short stories in several journals including Connotation Press, Blacktop Passages, Halfway Down the Stairs, The Writing Disorder, Crack the Spine, and more. Learn about her published fiction here.