All this water lately (the incessant downpours, the lovely little pool I've been coming home to on these super hot afternoons) has had me thinking about swimming.
Samuel loved the water. It may have something to do with the fact that he was a pisces (if you believe in all that stuff), or that his mother's also a bit of a waterbaby (and I'm a fire sign, so go figure..)
Anyhoo, one of the things that Samuel and I did together regularly was swim. From the time he was about 11, we'd go out weekly (on a Monday or a Wednesday 'cause there was stuff on TV the other nights!) for a late evening swim.
We'd get Anthony and Oliver organised, and once Oli was in bed we'd head off to the pool. Sometimes we'd walk there, and sometimes we'd drive. Mostly depending on how freezing the air was outside.
We had a little routine too. We'd get in the pool and do a few laps, then we'd float a bit, then swim underwater to the shallow end and get out. If we were at the big pool down the road, we'd get in the bubbles for a bit, but if it was the local one, we'd just hit the showers.
We didn't spend a lot of time talking (it's hard to do that when your head's in the water), but those times featured some of our best conversations.
One night we talked about colleges, and which one would be the best one for Sam to go to: the closest one, or one that had a subject he really liked. Of course he didn't really know what he liked then (he was in year 7 or 8 at the time), but he was already thinking about it. I remember telling him that he should just go somewhere that he'd be happy. As long as he did well there, the college that he actually went to wouldn't affect his future too much.
I'd always pick those nights to ask him about girls. He was always really cagey about it - not giving too much away. I still don't know whether he ever got to kiss a girl...
We talked about his brother, and the future, and the problems he had with his dad from time to time (they clashed a bit, those two, but loved each other dearly).
He even helped me to swim better. One night, he watch me doing backstroke up the pool, wobbling from one side of the lane to another. "Mum, you've got to keep your arm closer to your ear," he said. So I did. And I still do. Every time I do backstroke I hear his voice in my head telling me to tuck my arm in.
I miss those times.