poured out before bed
It wasn’t until after graduating college and having spent a year as a research technician in the lab of an MD that I decided I wanted to be a physician scientist. In college, I knew I loved science, especially microbiology and physiology, and I was pretty sure I liked the idea of medicine, but I didn’t quite yet have all the information to readily commit. In fact, earlier in high school and middle school, before my true introduction to the biological sciences, I dreamed of becoming an engineer for NASA, a wielder of fabulous math and physics, an explorer of sorts. But before that, before I was blinded by science and before I realized that I was one of those lucky sort more prized for my mind than for my (jiggy) figure or (nonexistent) athletic feats, I wanted to be none other than Esther Williams.
A combination of learning to swim before I could walk or talk and being taken multiple times a week throughout my childhood to do so (thanks Mum!) and of watching an awful lot of AMC and TCM on lazy weekends (thanks Dad!), my desire to become a swim femme fatale has, of course, been overridden by other more complex desires. But I still can’t watch any of Williams’ extravagant watery routines without remembering the excitement of a stroll to the pool, the pleasure of an afternoon swim, and the joy of childish dreams.
Rest in peace, Esther. I hope it’s a very long time before I, too, visit that very large pool in the sky, but I’ll certainly be looking for you when the day comes.