New to town, I am at the pool, doing water aerobics with a dozen or so women. As the teacher barks instructions over the blaring 50’s soundtrack, the women do or don’t follow along, depending on if they were visiting with their neighbor when said instructions were given. I listen carefully, having no one to talk to, and wanting to make a good impression on the teacher because… she is just that type. Or maybe I am that type? A discussion for another day.
All these women are brown and round and have seemingly known each other for years. They laugh and visit and tease one another about bobbing boobs and new swimsuits, trading information about who was here last week, who is sick, who is traveling. I am white and not round (or as round - it all depends on comparisons). I don’t know anything about anything. Trying to think of some witty comment that will let me into the club, the words of my children come to mind, “You are not that funny Mom.” I keep my lips sealed.
Traveling from one end of the pool and back, I imagine the swallows who swoop through the blue sky overhead think we look like a brightly colored school of fish. Packed together like little guppies, swish, swish, swish, I feel a gentle hand on my shoulder. “You are coming undone dear.” All the brightly adorned guppies stop and look. A round, brown person is fiddling with the back strap of my swimming suit. “It wouldn’t do to come undone,” she says kindly. “There we go, all better.” …and we are off again, swish, swish, swishing to the tune of Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.
I smile to myself, feeling one of them now. A kind gesture of Sisterhood has let me into the club.