Jump into the pool, says Brother.
I do not wish to jump into the pool.
For old time's sake, says Brother, jump into the pool.
This pool looks different from the pool of yesteryear.
Make a splash, says Brother. Set an example for all the merry children lining up behind you, says Brother.
I turn around. These children do not look merry. They look very unmerry.
Unmerry as fossils.
Jump into the pool, says Brother.
I do not wish to jump into the pool. There is a tree in the pool.
That is not a tree. That is Grandmother.
Grandmother, is that you?
No answer.
She is in the deep end trying to be misteriosa, says Brother. I can assure you that tree is not a tree but Grandmother, backstroking.
More children are lining up behind me. Some appear to be geniuses.
Dip the big toe first and the body will come along after, says Brother.
How soon along after?
Depends, says Brother. A day at most.
Is there a plethora of ways? I ask.
There is a plethora.
Go on, I say.
You can JUMP into the pool, suggests Brother.
Go on, I say.
Or you could jackknife, bellyflop, pencil drop, cannonball, face the music, live the life, knuckle the mouse, happy go lucky, bury the hatchet, or hubba hubba.
Or I could sink, I say.
Or you could sink, says Brother.

Grandmother? No answer. Grandmother, is that you? No answer.
I do not like this pool.
I point north. Would it be possible to jump into that pool?
Brother squints.
Brother scratches his head.
It seems to be a better pool.
From faraway, agrees Brother, it does seem to be a better pool.
A much better pool.
Loads better, says Brother.
I turn around. There appear to be hundreds of children lining up behind me, possibly thousands.
Jump into this pool, says Brother. Afterwards, you can have a snack at the snack bar.
I have been to that snack bar. It is a hideous snack bar.
It is a very hideous snack bar, agrees Brother.
I know no snack bar more hideous.
Any snack bar anywhere would be less hideous.
The popsicles are gaunt.
Impossibly gaunt, agrees Brother.

Grandmother floats by.
"I am going to die soon," sings Grandmother.
I do not know that song.
Nor do I, says Brother.
Jump into the pool, says Brother.

Don't look, I say.
They're here, I say.
Who? asks Brother.
Our parents.
Where? whispers Brother.
At the end of the line.
They are younger than they should be, says Brother.
They appear to be teenagers.
They are very beautiful, says Brother.
Remarkably beautiful, I agree.
Mother is holding a hot pink inflatable ball.
Father is laughing.
Their intention is to jump into the pool and play.
Little do they know, says Brother.
Little do they know! cheer the children.
Little do they know, sighs Grandmother.
Jump into the pool, says Brother.

Hurry up, says Brother, it is time.
Some of the children, from the heat, are drying up.
It's a cruel world, says Brother.
There is no world more cruel, I say.
A crueler world, says Brother, there isn't.
Do you know Gloria? asks Brother.
I do not know Gloria.
Suddenly I find myself in love with Gloria, says Brother.
I must go to her, says Brother.
If you go to Gloria who will tell me to jump into the pool?
Brother thinks.
Grandmother floats by.
Brother thinks more.
Our parents are too far back.
No one, says Brother. If I go to Gloria, no one will tell you to jump into the pool.
And yet the pool will remain?
Possibly, says Brother.
And I, unjumped, will remain?
I believe you will remain, says Brother.
Then obviously you must go to Gloria.
Without a doubt, says Brother.
Minutes go by.
Brother is still.
One whole day goes by.
Evening surrounds us.
Morning comes.
Although I am in love with Gloria, resumes Brother, I have not the heart to go to Gloria until you jump into the pool.
Could Gloria come to you?
Her magnificence makes this impossible, says Brother.

I just had a thought.
What's to think about? asks Brother.
The pool.
What else? asks Brother.
Jumping into it.
What else? asks Brother.
The Balkans.
Their winters are heavy, says Brother.
Beautifully heavy.
Like the bones of one thousand grandmothers.
Heavier, says Brother.

Has Gloria ever traveled to The Balkans?
Many times, says Brother.
This is why I love her, says Brother.
Whereas Gloria's ventures are fraught with peril, mine are fraught with no peril, says Brother.
This makes Gloria better than me, says Brother.
And me.
And you, says Brother.

Jump into the pool, says Brother.
It appears Grandmother has built a ship.
Normally, says Brother, shipbuilding takes place in a specialized facility called a shipyard.
In this case, says Brother, Grandmother has used the pool.
Jump into the pool, says Brother. Afterwards you can climb aboard.
The ship holds upwards of thirty men.
Grandmother is perched on the bow.
Very perched, says Brother.
Very, very perched.
I have never seen Grandmother so perched.
When she looks up, says Brother, we'll all be dead.
Even Gloria?
Especially Gloria, says Brother.
Such is the suddenness of living, says Brother.
And loving?
Same thing, says Brother.
Such is the suddenness of loving, says Brother.
Jump into the pool, says Brother.