A stiff breeze whips up chilly ripples that rake the water from the deep end to the shallow. The foam orange rescue tubes keep blowing off the empty lifeguard chairs.
For the first time since the Kenilworth-Parkside Swimming Pool in Northeast Washington opened June 1, no one has come to swim.
This is how you know summer is over.
The lifeguards are jabbering and joking on the deck, talking about the coming football season, about working soon at indoor pools.
Lifeguard Sheron Smith dons a heavy sweat shirt. Her colleague O'Connor Anderson Jr. wails: "Can I get worker's comp if I catch my death of pneumonia?"
It is 70 degrees outside, but after a summer like this one, it feels positively arctic.
The water temperature is 75.5 degrees, down from 78 degrees Sunday, 81 degrees Saturday, and 88 degrees for an entire week at the peak of the heat.
Nathan "Moe-Moe" Bradley, manager of the city-run pool, is trying to get used to the childless, laughless, splashless water. He grew up in this neighborhood and has spent every summer since he was 4--29 summers in all--at this pool. And every summer ended the same way.
"It's very odd," he says. He is looking at the pool's azure void, but seeing the 107 people who swam just the day before, or the 147 a week ago, or the 450 on summer's best days.
He expected it to be slow yesterday, the first day of school. But even by late afternoon, after school let out, no one came to swim.
"It's like now I don't have anything to do with my time," Bradley says.
Some days, the kids would be lined up 100 deep when he arrived to open the pool.
"I have much more fun when they're in the water," he says. "I know when I was their age I wanted to get in the water."
He reviews the highlights of the summer. The water aerobics class for seniors, the swimming lessons for kids--and the graduation ceremonies he staged to make those moments special.
He runs a tight ship, keeping the water clean and deploying eight guards, who sit in chairs or "rove" around the pool. There were seven "saves" this year. Most he considers minor--non-swimming children who got away from their parents, leapt into the water and were immediately plucked out by a lifeguard. Bradley logged a more serious save, diving to the bottom of the deep end to haul out a drunk.
At last: a splash!
Pamela Ogletree, a manager from another pool filling in yesterday as a lifeguard, is in the water with her daughter Dominique, 12. Pamela still has her blue jeans on and is laughing. Dominique, who shrieks, "It is cold," looks annoyed. "She pulled me in the water!"
The last dunk of summer.
CAPTION: Lifeguard Pamela Ogletree, left, drags daughter Dominique, 12, into Kenilworth-Parkside Pool. They were the only swimmers there.