‘The Squashbuckler Diaries’ are the daily tales of Joy Shelley’s Life in the Dream. The ‘Lost in Dreams’ books will tell the story of what happens to her at ages 6, 9, 12, 15, and so on. The diaries tell us what happens before, after, and between the books.

#66: Joy's First Swim

It was Dragon Little’s first swimming lesson. 

Little Joy Shelley, the human I lovingly call my Dragon Little, was only two and a half years old when her father, Justin, whom I call Dragon Father (for he ist her father) took her to a little atoll to practice swimming. They were dressed in very colorful… I believe it ist called ‘swimming trunks’. 

Beautiful, strange sea shells filled the beach almost knee-deep as they walked. But Dragon Father led her to a place where there were no seashells and there were wooden stairs leading into the sea. 

“Here,” he said, offering her what I have heard other humans, in other dreams, call a ‘swim tube’, a round inflatable object that keeps the child afloat. The swim tube had just appeared in his hands. 

“What’s this?” She said, not surprised that an object had just appeared in her father’s hand. 

“You put it on. It keeps you afloat. It helps you swim.”

Dragon Little waved it aside. “I don’t need it. I can swim.”

Dragon Little marched towards the wooden construct, then quickly made way towards the stairs that led into the sea.

“Joy! Joy!” He called after her, but she would not listen. I can see on his face always that he finds her ability to never listen to him both funny and annoying.

Dragon Little confidently took one step - her feet touched the water. 

She took another confident step lower - now she was up to her bellybutton. 

Dragon Father was still running towards her. 

She took another confident step, and: Plop! - she disappeared under water. 

Dragon Father reached in quickly and pulled her out with both arms. 

Dragon Little coughed. 

“Listen,” he said. “You have to take this. It keeps you afloat.”

“Let me go! Let me go!” she shouted. 

He put her gently on the first stair. 

“I don’t need you! I can do it!” She said matter-of-factly. She took another step and immediately another. 

Plop! She disappeared underwater. 

Dragon Father pulled her out again. She was coughing harder. And this time she looked frightened. 

“Give me this!” She yelled at him, pointing at the swim tube as if she had always asked for it. “I want it!”

Dragon Father gave it to her wordlessly and showed her how to put it on. From this point on, she would use it to float until she would teach her self to swim a few years later. 

But this instance - it was one of those I found so telling about who she would grow up to be. It wasn’t stupidity that made her insist she could do it. She had such inner belief in herself that she could do anything, that she believed she would swim. That inner belief - that strength - would be the one thing that would help her survive the dangers outside her father’s dream. If that ist even possible. 

I could see how strong she was. She could change the world. 

But I do not dare to hope. Not even today, as she nears her sixth birthday.

—Told by The Red Dragon

#67: Face to Face

#65: Justin's Dark Mood #5: Making It Right