“This is going to be a perfect day, the most fabulous day ever,” said Sindy, flopping on to a sun lounger with an ice-cold lemonade. The sun was shining brightly, and Sindy and her best friends had decided to spend time together by the pool chilling out. “I feel so relaxed,” said Sindy. She had put on her sun cream and her favourite pink sunglasses and brought a new teen romance novel to read. “I’m going to lie here all day and do nothing. Bliss!”
Just then two small children began arguing right in front of Sindy. The boy was wagging his finger. “Boys are better than girls. So there!” he said.
“No they’re not,” said the little girl, stamping her foot. “Girls are the best!”
The children carried on, becoming more and more red faced, until eventually their mums pulled them apart. “I’m so sorry!” said one of the mums to Sindy. “I hope they didn’t disturb you.”
“No, not at all,” said Sindy, laughing. Then she got straight back to her book. She was just about to find out if Sam really loved Shelley after all when…
“He’s right of course.” Sindy peered over her sunglasses to see a tall, blond teenage boy in board shorts. He was smiling. “I mean, boys are better than girls—naturally.”
Sindy put down her book. “They’re what?”
“It’s obvious,” the boy said, “boys are faster, stronger and cleverer.”
Sindy sat up and crossed her arms. “Well, that may be your opinion, but I don’t think it’s true. Boys are not better than girls,” she said. “And I’m going to prove it.”
“Oh, really?” said the boy, whose name was Jack. “How?”
Sindy looked at the pool. “A swimming race,” she said. Sindy knew she was a fast swimmer, and, on the spur of the moment, it seemed like a good idea.
“I don’t know,” said Jack. “I mean, I don’t want to embarrass you…”
Well that was it. In a flash, Sindy and Jack were lining up. The cool blue tiles felt smooth under Sindy’s feet. To Sindy’s surprise, Jasmine pulled a whistle from her pocket. Sindy’s mate counted down from three, blew loudly, and they were off…
Everyone stood by the pool and watched. Obviously all the boys cheered for Jack, while all the girls shouted even louder for Sindy. The pair were neck and neck for most of the race. Then Jack found a bit of extra strength. He beat Sindy by a whisker.
“Good try,” Jack said, as they both climbed out of the pool, “Now will you accept that boys are better?”
Sindy could not. Suddenly she heard herself saying, “I tell you what, how about giving me another chance?”
“Fine,” said Jack, “I suggest a diving contest.”
Sindy took a deep breath as the pair climbed up to the diving board. Sindy was pretty good at diving but suddenly did not feel so confident. Doing her best to stay calm, she moved forward and performed her best dive, doing a full somersault before elegantly entering the water. Everyone clapped.
Then it was Jack’s turn. Although he was a bit of a show off, Sindy could not help but like him. But then he only went and performed a double somersault dive. The crowd went wild—including Sindy’s best friends! Afterwards everyone voted for the best diver. Jack beat Sindy again—but just by one vote.
“You’ve got to admit it now, Sindy, boys are better than girls,” said Jack, laughing, but this time with much less confidence.
Sindy would not give up and had one more idea. “A game of water volleyball should settle it,” she said. Sindy was captain of her volleyball team, and they were unbeaten champions. Surely she could at least beat Jack at this game.
Again it was a close. Sindy took the lead halfway through. She kept it until the last point, when she slipped on the bottom of the pool. Jack just scraped a win.
The pair dried themselves off and shook hands. “Bad luck, Sindy,” said Jack. “Now it must be time for lunch,” he added, checking his watch. But then his smile disappeared. “Oh no!”
“What’s the matter?” said Sindy.
“My watch!” said Jack. “I’ve lost it! It was a birthday present from my mum. What am I going to say to her?”
“Don’t worry,” said Sindy, “we’ll all help you look for it.” Sindy and her friends searched all around the poolside, under fluffy beach towels and in the flowerbeds, but Jack’s watch was nowhere to be seen. Then Sindy spotted something shiny at the bottom of the deep end.
“There it is!” she said. Fortunately it was a special waterproof watch. Jack jumped in as everybody watched. He tried to dive down to reach his watch. But all he did was splash about on the surface. Sindy realised that, although Jack was a fast swimmer, an excellent diver and a great volleyball player, he simply could not swim underwater.
Without hesitating, Sindy dived in, effortlessly plunging down to the bottom and bringing Jack’s watch to the surface. “Here you are,” said Sindy, handing the watch to the blushing boy.
Everyone clapped. “You were fantastic, just like a mermaid!” said the little boy who had been arguing earlier.
“I told you girls were better,” said the little girl.
“Of course!” said Sindy. Then she showed all the children—and Jack—how to do it. Afterwards they all played a game of mermaids and mermen—collecting shell toys from the bottom of the pool. Sindy and Jack made up two mixed teams of boys and girls. They all worked really well together.
“I think this proves that girls and boys are just as good as each other,” said Sindy to all the little ones. Jack heard what Sindy was saying and swam towards her.
“Oh no!” she thought. “I expect he wants to show off again.”
“Ahem,” said Jack, “er, I, um, I just wanted to say, what I mean is…um…thank you—for finding my watch and for teaching me to swim underwater.”
“Oh!” said Sindy. “You’re welcome.”
“And, um, you were right. Boys really aren’t better than girls.”
“I’ve had so much fun today!” said Sindy when she rejoined her friends.
“But you were supposed to be relaxing,” said Holly.
“Yes, what happened to doing nothing?” added Jasmine.
“There’s plenty of time to chill out,” said Sindy. “But first, I fancy an ice cream. Who wants one?”
Jasmine, Holly and Issy started laughing. “What’s so funny?” said Sindy.
“Turn around,” said Issy, pointing.
Sindy turned around to see Jack holding ice creams for Sindy and all her friends.
She laughed. “It looks like I’m the winner after all!” she said.
Jack handed the ice-cream cones around to everyone. They were delicious. “Ice cream, sunshine and friends,” said Sindy, lying back on her lounger. “This is a perfect day!”
By Alison Viña