One of our regulars, a fine man with special needs and a memory for dates (remembers everyone’s birthday) and details, is going to the shore with his family for the summer. He came into the pool like usual, swam his ten short laps with the guard and me counting each one. When finished he announced, “I’m going to the shore!” I asked what he’s going to do there and he said, “Go to the beach, swim in my pool and go to the boardwalk!” I asked what he liked about the boardwalk and he said, “SHOPPING!” We wished him well and told him to have fun but that we would miss him.
Then he got a little melancholy. When he got out of the pool he head-but hugged the lifeguard not on duty, then the one on duty, then back to the one not on duty, over and over a few times. It was so sweet. So honest! So innocent! So pure!
“Bye tiles! Bye pool! Bye-bye!” he said, finally going into the locker room to get dressed. Less than five minutes later he was lunging through the pool office door back into the pool area, shiny-red, half-eaten apple waving in his hand as he shouted, “Bye-bye! I have to go now, because I’m going to the shore!”
Then one more head-but-hug and off he went, chomping the apple with gusto! BING! Heartprint!