by Eddie Jeffrey
Richard Aldinger and his family used to go to the pool. His father dove off the high dive, pikes and can-openers one right after the other. His mother reclined on a deck chair well away from the edge. Pools terrified her. She had been pushed into one from behind as a child and had almost drowned.
Richard Aldinger’s father tricked him into jumping in that first time. He said he would catch him like he caught him when he jumped out of the tree in their backyard. But, Richard Aldinger’s father pulled away at the last possible second and he broke through the pool’s surface like missing that last step of the stairs in the dark. Looking up through his torrent of bubbles, he saw his father smiling. Richard Aldinger was four.
He had seen the pictures of his father and his diving buddies on R & R in the South China Sea. His father wore a utility belt, white shorts, and deck shoes with no socks. His legs and chest were bare and pale, the pattern breaking at the neckline and halfway down his arms where he was tanned almost black. He had a moustache, then. SCUBA gear lay strewn about the deck before him. The boat’s wake frothed away into the distance behind to an empty, washed out horizon.
Eddie Jeffrey’s father retired from the Army in 1987 and served two tours in Vietnam with the 18th Engineer Brigade. Eddie earned an M.A. in Writing from Johns Hopkins University in 2009 and lives near Baltimore, MD with his wife, daughter, and two dogs. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming with Copaiba Press, Thrice Fiction, Chaffey Review, Murky Depths, JazzTimes, and The Alexandria Times, and he is a reader for Baltimore Review.