Buoyant: (adj) able or apt to stay afloat
I was fat.
When you’re a teenager and fat, you’re convinced that everything is much more dramatic and even bulbous than it actually may be.
For instance, I was frightened that my lips were too big. Matter of fact, I asked my mother if there were any blacks in our ancestry. There weren’t. For you see, my lips weren’t too big–they only appeared that way when they were placed an inch-and-a-half away from a mirror.
I also thought I might have accidentally inherited women’s breasts. I was sure if I took my shirt off, someone would notice this, or if there was a doctor in the house it could be diagnosed. Of course, nothing was further from the truth. My belly was so big it made my chest look flat. Nevertheless, the notion lived and breathed in my mind.
So when I finally did work up the courage to get into the pool on one summery afternoon, I waded into the deep end, and when I stopped waving my arms, I realized I could stand in the water without having to tread.
I was so damned impressed with myself.
I was buoyant.
The rest of my friends swimming around me were ferociously trying to keep afloat by moving their arms and legs. But not me.
I was so proud of the discovery that I shared it with everybody in the pool. Many people were equally as astounded.
For a brief moment I gained the status of “the man who could float on water.”
I was empowered.
And then one of the adults who was in the pool with us (for some reason feeling the need to be truthful) swam over and explained to me and all my followers that the reason I was able to float in the water without moving my arms was that fat floats–is buoyant–and was lifting me up in the pool and holding me in place.
One of the girls I was desperately trying to impress crinkled her face as if trying to gain greater wisdom.
“So what you’re saying,” she said, “is that he’s like a beach ball–because you can’t drown a beach ball. It keeps popping to the surface.”
The grown-up nodded, feeling he had successfully achieved explaining the premise.
I lost my entourage. No one was impressed anymore.
For after all, how attractive is a human beach ball?