Swim Shoes

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As the rainy days of spring carried out and the hot sticky days of summer rolled in, my mother knew it was time for me to get a new bathing suit and swim shoes. I was eight years old, and my parents taught me better than to go into public pools without swim shoes on. I remember feeling beyond mature with these squeaky, multi-colored, rubber shoes. They even had a distinct smell of rubber mixed with chlorine. I would march into the park districts over-crowded pool with my swim wear and swim shoes on, feeling on top of the world.


My neighbor, Lizzy, and I were best friends. We did everything together. Her birthday was just around the corner and I knew she would be throwing an 8th birthday party. As I read her birthday invitation, nothing but a huge smile was planted on my face. My eyes grew larger as if I was staring at a delicious ice cream sundae. The invitation read, “Slip ‘n’ Slide Party!” I knew it was going to be a perfect place to show off my astonishing swim shoes.


It felt like forever, but finally the day of the birthday party came along. I slipped on my bathing suit, strapped on my swim shoes, and walked directly across the street. As I expected there were many of my neighborhood friends there. Of course, I felt like the coolest one with my shoes on. I walked into the backyard and stared at what I’ve been waiting all week for – the slip ‘n’ slide. The water flowed calmly down the plastic slide. It looked as cold as ice but nothing was stopping me. I looked around to make sure everyone noticed me, ran towards the cold water, and slid all the way down. My body cold and wet, I stood up expecting my friends to compliment me on my swim shoes and slip ‘n’ slide skills. I did not receive what I expected. My neighbor was nearly in tears. As I looked down at the slip ‘n’ slide, I saw ripped plastic and holes throughout it leading to the exact spot I was standing at. “Giselle, honey, I think we said no shoes on the slip ‘n’ slide”, Lizzys mom said to me. A warm tear ran down my face. I looked down at my feet, bit my bottom lip, and softy said “Sorry”. I immediately turned around and ran straight home.
After that day, I threw my colorful, rubber shoes into my closet, shut the door and never looked for them again. They were one of my biggest childhood disappointments. The smell of wet rubber lingered for a while after but never did I dare slipping on my had-been favorite swim shoes again.





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