Chapter 41: The Trio's Activity

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A little hand was clasped in a mother's steady grip as Jacob and his caregivers journeyed across the parking lot.

Simon acted as the pack mule, towing the bags they packed in preparation for the day's outing while Angelique escorted their little one. The middle-aged man remained determined to make only one trip from the car, and the number of items in his hands, bands on his shoulders and straps around his neck reflected that.

All three of them were already dressed in their swimwear, although Angelique had a white, knitted wrap tied around herself to guard against the cool, fall air. As they walked through the doors of the indoor pool, the trio looked like a picture-perfect family. Dressed in matching outfits, courtesy of Angelique, the family appeared genuinely happy to strangers, and maybe it's because they were.

That morning had gone by smoothly with no appearances from Jacob's adult consciousness. Getting the little boy prepared for the day proved to be especially easy, enticed as he was by the promise of a special outing. By the time they were leaving the house, the boy's excitement became all too visible for his caregivers. Relief surged for Simon and Angelique when they had finally arrived, grateful to no longer be bombarded by questions about how much longer the trip would take.

While his caregivers looked around to find a good spot to place their belongings, little eyes lit up as they took in the colorful, relaxed atmosphere. Jacob tugged against Angelique's hold on his hand, hoping to speed up her pace. The boy had been looking forward to swimming all day, inspired by his recent dreams of doing just that. Certainly, the expanse of water before him matched the vast ocean of his imagination. It wasn't just a tiny tub that he could stand in.

The big, blue pool would almost be intimidating, if not for the few other children who were splashing around and playing in the water. Giggles, shrieks and cheers echoed throughout the building, inviting Jacob to join in on what could only be described as fun. Transfixed by the excitement in the air, small feet bounded in pace with Angelique.

Simon and Angelique led Jacob to the smaller kiddie pool that wasn't very crowded. Only one family occupied the deeper end. Jacob's caregivers waved to the nearby family as they walked past them, and when they reached the other end of the pool, Angelique took a seat at a nearby, empty bench and lifted the tyke onto her lap.

"Let's get these sandals off," she told him, undoing the Velcro straps.

Jacob watched as Simon organized the bags. His caregiver appearing intent to find something until he unzipped a compartment and pulled out a pair of blue, armband floaties.

"Are you ready for your first swimming lesson, Jacob?" Simon asked, sliding the floaties along the boy's arm.

"Yes!" he squealed with his arms raised in the air.

Jacob followed Simon to the edge of the pool where the water was the shallowest. His caregiver helped him get his feet wet, hoping to get him acclimated to the temperature of the water.

After removing her wrap and discarding her flip-flops at the edge of the pool, Angelique waded further into the water and sat down. She reached her arms out to Jacob, urging him to join her.

"Come on sweetie. The water is nice," she encouraged.

Jacob tentatively entered the pool with Simon's support. His legs generated tiny ripples in the water, and he was already enjoying himself. His arms flailed, splashing his caregivers a tad as he steadied himself. Concentration defined his features as he waded over to Angelique, afraid to slip and fall.

When the water was deep enough that he had to tiptoe, his armband floaties did their job, helping him to stay afloat even though his first swimming lesson had yet to commence. His tiny legs apprehensively kicked through the water, and Angelique helped him swim in a tight circle around her.

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