greased watermelon

Our coach lobs the large, heavy ovoid melon into the pool, its ragged zebra stripes dissolving from dark green into avocado or lime like a chameleon or some incognito fruit. It’s greased like a pig, thick swathes of whitish Crisco smeared over its rotund form rendering it nearly impossible to seize.

The orb kerplunks into the water descending below the glossy surface toward the white sandpapery bottom with its shiny black tiled stripes that bend like a fork into the deep end. For a moment the fruit is suspended before slowly making its way back up. Just then, an attempt to nab it is thwarted by its own greasy sheath and it is propelled, like a tiddlywink, from the suitor's grasp.

Skinny kids with puffed up cheeks and squinting eyes swim like frogs toward the melon, tiny bubbles escaping from their lips. It looks like a dreamscape, like the ones in which I can breathe underwater, can drink the liquid into my lungs as if it were oxygen. Wavy patterns of squiggly light line the pool’s basin and the glowing skin of a hundred gangly arms and legs appear as a sparkling school of giraffe fish. Each of the team’s members remains in hot pursuit of the semi-buoyant fruit.

At long last one of the older swimmers is able to hug the melon to his slick chest and kick with all his might underwater to the opposing team’s end and plop it into the gutter for a gasping win. Usually, the melon splits open into a watery gush of red, green and specks of black to be eaten by all.

Somehow, like many things since Calvin’s epilepsy diagnosis, this fond memory of playing greased watermelon at my childhood community pool reminds me—oddly—of his seizures. I think of how difficult, if not impossible, the seizures are to get hold of, how just when we think we’ve captured them they get away. I think about the melon’s jagged stripes, like lightening bolts or zigzaggy brain waves. I imagine that melon as if it were an egg or Calvin’s head—like Humpty Dumpty—cracking open never to be put back together again.

But it’s only a fleeting comparison and somehow not disturbing to me at all. Must be because these memories of hot blue summer days, gleeful screams, splashing bodies, inspirational cheers and side-splitting laughter bring me happiness. These images spark a warm smile thinking about paddling around amongst all of my friends like a bunch of tadpoles. The memory of these moments can never be ruined, never be taken away by anything, not even Calvin’s goddamn unrelenting seizures. That’s the beauty and power of the dreams of childhood days, of joyful friendships, sportsmanship and love ... and of a silly, greased-up watermelon drifting through the water like some goofy, slow-mo Mel Brook's asteroid. But it is too bad my little Calvin will never get to do it.

On this, the second to last day of our annual cure epilepsy benefit, if you haven't done so already, please open your hearts and minds and donate to crucial epilepsy research. Join the team that is going to catch this elusive greased watermelon, going to blow it clean and clear out of the water. http://www.calvinscure.com


  1. Wonderful post -- I wish you great success and luck with your efforts to raise money. It's a hard job -- one that I've done over and over for many years --

  2. What a remarkable and wonderful metaphor! Christy, your writing is powerful. I can't wait to read more. It carries me with you as you remember and kvell (do you know the word?) and as you live your love with its sorrows and joys. Bless you!

  3. dear elizabeth and carol,
    so nice to know you are out there. you lift me up.
    xo, christy

  4. "But it is too bad my little Calvin will never get to do it."


    It IS too bad.

    I know this place all too well - thinking of the experiences that Lisbeth will not get to do, like, for instance (speaking of watermelons) being pregnant, having children.

    I have to remember (and it's not always easy) that Lisbeth has her daily joys - and things that make her heart beat with anticipation - things that make her laugh. Her world is very different than mine, and not so different...

    Not bad thing...xo