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Josh Robbins And Mr. Ant
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Josh Robbins And Mr. Ant
Josh defeats his fear of swimming with inspiration from Mr. Ant.
[1,042 words]
Vaishali Shroff
[July 2007]
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Josh Robbins And Mr. Ant
Vaishali Shroff

“Not again Dad, no swimming camp for me, please! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to swim.”

Josh’s school organized an annual swimming camp, which he had somehow escaped for the past two years.

“You must learn how to swim, Josh. I think it’s as important as knowing how to read and write. It’s not that tough, believe me. You’re joining the swimming camp and I’m leaving you with no choice here,” said Steve.

“Pretty please…I’m scared Dad that I might drown while swimming.” whined Josh.

There was no response from his father and this time he knew that he had no option but to take the plunge into the pool. Josh spent sleepless nights over the camp, shuddering at the slightest thought of even dipping his toes into its clear waters, which was blue and green from the reflection of the aqua colored tiles beneath.

The shadow of the club house made the boat shaped pool in Pompom city’s sports club resemble a sinking ship.

Josh hung his towel across the arched arms of a chair that was placed under a rainbow colored umbrella by the pool. A large number of kids, some from his school, splashed into the water, enjoying their swim.

With his swimming trunks, goggles, and floats on, he walked towards the pool with his shoulders drooping and head hung low. He saw his reflection in the water, which kept shifting along with the tiny waves in the pool.

Suddenly he saw a bigger reflection loom large behind him. It was a tall structure with a hat. It looked down and stared right at Josh.

“Hi son, I’m Mr. Waterson, your swimming coach.”

He was very tall, broad, and burly, with a square jaw, and had arms that could carry three Josh’s at a time! His hair was neatly tied back in a piggy tail that popped out of his hat.

Wearing a pair of blue trunks and slippers, he stood like a tall tree, but his face displayed a caring expression.

Rolling his eyes up, Josh stared back at Mr. Waterson.

“Er…hello Sir, I’m Josh Robbins from Bright Sun High School.”

His moist eyes were pleading and said over and over again that he was scared of going anywhere close to the pool.

But Mr. Waterson shook his head, wagging his small piggy tail and just smiled.

“Come on sonny, you’ll be alright.”

Suddenly the shrill sound of a whistle pierced Josh’s ears and he felt a nudge on his back. In no time he went flying into the pool.

Splish, Splash, Splosh – out came the water and in went Josh! He couldn’t believe what just happened and started to twist and turn, trying to keep his head above the water.

He shrieked louder and louder.

“Help me someone, help me – get me out of here else I’ll drown!”

Mr. Waterson jumped into the pool and held Josh by his arms.

“Stand still. What are you frightened about? The pool is very shallow Josh. Look, you can simply stand here by yourself.”

The other children in the pool laughed at him.

“Look at that chicken. Ha ha ha…”

But Josh didn’t care – he wanted to get out of there. He scampered towards the pool ladder and was soon out of the boat-shaped blue waters.

“Thank you Mr. Waterson, for saving my life,” yelled Josh with tears in his eyes, while running towards his belongings.

He grabbed his swimming bag, towel, and bottle, and fled to go home, never to return to the club.

That evening at dinner Josh didn’t look too happy.

“Josh, honey, is everything alright? How did your swimming come along?” asked his anxious mother.

Martha was upset herself. Her otherwise happy face had wrinkles on her forehead. She had been observing that Josh looked unhappy for the past few days.
While she was equally keen that Josh learns how to swim, she was worried that her son was neither sleeping nor eating well.

“Oh well, errr, it was, er…er..pretty OK…I…I, I’m sorry Dad. Mom, please get me out of this. I beg!”

Josh couldn’t resist it. He thought it would be worth taking a final shot at trying to convince his parents against swimming.

Martha looked earnestly at Steve.

“Hmmm, alright, alright, I’ll go with you tomorrow to the club. We’ll sort this out, son, don't you worry about it” said Steve, leaving the dining table to join Martha in the kitchen.

It was a daily ritual for Steve and Josh to help Martha clean after dinner and one time of the day when all three spent some good time together.

Josh felt as if a huge rock had been lifted off his head. He started clearing the dining table – one after the other, he put the plates and bowls in the dishwasher. He stretched his arm to reach out to a glass that was half filled with water.

An ant in the glass caught his attention.

Look Mom, there’s an ant in the glass!” But Martha was busy cleaning up and simply nodded.

He put the glass back on the table and with a beaming face set his gaze on the ant. The ant moved swiftly on the inside of the glass, which reminded Josh of his parents jogging around their house every morning in a perfect circle.

“Oops, there you go!”

The poor ant fell into the water while making its journey. But it started struggling on the smooth surface of the glass, trying to move up, above the water level.

Josh found tiny Mr. Ant’s attempts to escape the drowning very fascinating and he couldn’t keep his eyes off the ant’s moves.

“Come on, you can do it Mr. Ant, you can do it. Just a little bit more.”

“This teeny-weeny black creature has got some courage,” he said to himself.

The ant struggled and struggled more and eventually crept above the water level. Soon after, it continued to make its rounds on the walls of the glass like nothing had happened!

“Yesssss…there you go, you did it Mr. Ant, you did it!”

Just then Josh realized what had happened. He couldn’t stop smiling at himself.

He finished his daily chores of cleaning the table. Yawning away, with his head held high, Josh walked towards his room. It was time to go to bed.


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© 2007 Vaishali Shroff
July 2007

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