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the hose, the three of us were already in our swimsuits standing on the back porch. Jenn and Jan were pulling on their rubber swim caps, one yellow the other pink, with their matching ruffled red, white, and green one-piece togs (they were twins after all). As usual, I felt embarrassed standing in my ill-fitting, baggy blue trunks that tied in the front, my skinny legs out there for the world to see. I hated wearing them, whether that was complex modesty that had already been ingrained or just the reality that I more than once considered in the long mirror in the back hall. I didn’t even own a pair of shorts, but I was willing to endure it for the opportunity to run through the sprinkler on a hot summer day. Father emerged from the garage with the old black garden hose draped over his right shoulder and the green sprinkler in his left hand. Just short of the yard he stopped when he saw us on the porch. “Did you ask your mother if you could do this?” he called without a smile. “Yes,” the girls said together. If they did, I wasn’t aware and remained silent. After all, I was only eight. Leaning forward, he squinted across the bright yard, as if looking for the truth in our eyes. I looked away. The girls flashed their practiced smiles. An awkward moment passed. “Well okay,” he said as if agreeing to overlook a misdemeanor. “Just wait until I get this thing set up.” A squeal erupted as the girls raced past me on the way to get towels from the bathroom. I stayed on the porch to watch my father stretch the hose out from the faucet by the side door, twist the old metal sprinkler onto the end, and set it in the section of yard closest to the house. He squinted and made lines with his right index finger to spot the center of the small space, looking as though he was marking himself with the cross. He didn’t see me watching and smiling just a little bit. He spun the water on then off, re-positioned the sprinkler, and then turned it on again. The silver top flashed as it sent a spray of water like diamond beads four feet in the air for a twelve-foot 64

2017 Freshwater Literary Journal  

Professional literary journal produced at Asnuntuck Community College