The shadow on the wall

The summer when I was six, I participated in a five-day swimming program with my two best friends at a local swimming school. We all enrolled in the beginner’s class where we were going to learn how to float and how to kick the water in a proper way.

During the week of the program, the school shuttle bus came to pick us up in front of our community of tiny half-dilapidated apartments, and when the class was over, it brought us back home along with other children.

Every morning, my mother packed my swimming suit, my swimming hat and my towel in a huge waterproof bag that I had been using for my swimming lesson at kindergarten. It was a square bag with two large red handles, and in the middle, a picture of Hello Kitty was printed. After breakfast, I would hang the bag from my shoulder before running to the pick-up point to meet my friends.

The swimming lesson was fun, especially with my two best friends beside me. Our instructor gave us floats on our upper arms, and we practiced kicking the water while floating safely. The time flew quickly, and before we noticed, it was time for us to go home.

The shuttle bus was small, and there were no rows with three seats. So, on our way back home, my friends usually sat together on one side, and I sat on the other side across the tiny aisle. There I used to indulge in some daydreaming while my friends chatted. It was a peaceful time I loved after an hour of good exercise.

Toward the end of the week, when we were coming home on the shuttle bus, the sun came out and the shadow of my bag appeared on the wall next to me. Since my bag was mostly transparent, only the edges, the handles and the shape of Hello Kitty were visible.

As I gazed at the beautiful pattern on the wall, my friends called me.

“Let’s get off! We arrived!”

I forgot most of the details from that week when we attend the swimming lesson, but that scene of me watching the shadow of my bag on the wall has never lost its clarity in my mind. It is a reminder of the cozy moment I had with my two best friends that summer on our way back home from the swimming class.