Zeke could hold his breath for a long time.
Down there, beneath the surface of a shallow creek somewhere in the mountains of central California, he was fascinated by the clarity of his hearing. As he dog- paddled through the creek, eyes wide open, he pushed rocks aside with both of his hands. They thunked against each other. A musical sound. A sound that he could not repeat on land with the same resonance with the rocks for the fort that he and Jerry had begun to build the day before. He challenged himself to stay under water until his lungs burned. He surfaced, gasped in the thin mountain air, and dove under again, trying to see if he could increase his underwater time with each excursion.
Jerry, Zeke’s kid brother, swam ahead, in the deeper part of the creek. Zeke was heading there, at a much slower pace, more concerned with the sound of the gentle crashing of the rocks, the movement of the water, the heat from the sun melding with the iciness of the water. He surfaced again, Jerry was still ahead, splashing, laughing, giggling, sounding every bit of seven years old.
Ezekiel and Jeremiah Their parents had a thing for Old Testament Prophets.
Zeke stood and looked to shore. Mom was there, a one-piece swimsuit, sunglasses and a visor. Her belly swelled with their little brother. They would name him Solomon.
“That’s far enough, boys,” She shouted from the shoreline, hands over her eyes. She was in deep conversation with the camp directors’ wife and Zeke found it incredible how his mom could be fully engaged in conversation and yet still keep an unwavering eye on her two rambunctious sons. Dad was off teaching the afternoon Bible study, leaving the parenting duties to mom.
“No, mommy, we are not. I can touch, see?” Jerry called back, going to under water and popping back up. “See? I just touched.”
“You’re too far, come closer. If you can’t touch, you’re too far.”