It’s 6:30pm and we’re sitting by the pool. Well. I’m sitting by the pool – the girls are in it. This would be fantastic except for the fact that, by staying at one of the nicest hotels in Libreville, we share most of our common space with a large number of business men and women and other people in important looking clothes.
These same people like to come home in the evening -- from work or wherever they’ve been -- and sit out by the pool for a drink or light dinner. And without fail, they choose chairs and tables positioned precariously close the pool. This would be fine if the only people who got in the pool this time of day were the ones who quietly put on their goggles, swim 30 methodical laps, then get out. That would not be my children.
At the moment the girls look more like a co-production of National Geographic and MTV – “Sharks Gone Wild: South Beach.”
They are splashing about madly and shouting something about a dog. I hope this is just part of their game and that they are drowning an actual dog.
In the meantime, I glance up periodically to catch a glimpse of terror on the faces of our evening-time pool companions. Is it fear of getting their expensive clothes wet? Fear that my children might actually be causing each other bodily harm? Or, and this is my guess, confirmation of their greatest fear that Americans are, in fact, the loudest people on the planet…
It’s hard to say, but as dusk falls by the pool, my kids paint a striking contrast in many ways. During the day, this place bustles and hums with people and waves and car horns. The colors are bright and vibrant -- blues, greens, pinks, reds and oranges. My girls with their bright blondes and golds seem to fit in like flowers in a garden.
But as the darkness settles, it settles like a blanket. The dark is not inky blackness but soft velvet that envelopes everything. Colors are not erased, simply muted. The sounds of people laughing, crickets singing and waves crashing mellow with the evening breeze. All the edges are rubbed soft. It is peaceful and lovely.
And then the record scratches. The Strock girls look like glowing negatives in the dark. No soft conversation or gentle movement for my shining, screaming, splashing, tornado-like children…only a feeding frenzy of happiness.
I suppose I should feel bad about disrupting dinners and sloshing water on Mr. Fancy Suit as he sips his martini. But somehow, the expressions on the faces of these blonde whirling dervishes that I call my own make it just a little bit hard.
Ava just came over to report that she’s done and would like to go back to the room. The dog must have finally given up.