(A fictitious account based upon autobiographical realities)

I took one last look at my dad before dropping my head under the surface. As I went under, exhaling through my nose, I thought about him. A quick glimpse of thought, like most are. He’s a handsome man, I thought to myself, like Harrison Ford but with a mustache. I kicked my feet, swung my hands around and kept blowing air out of my nose to sink deeper and deeper. I felt my feet touch the cement. Was there ever a movie in which Harrison Ford had a mustache? I didn’t think so. So I grew a mustache on Indiana Jones’ face with my imagination. Not exactly like dad but close. I pressed my goggles on my face to fortify the suction. Sitting Indian-style on the floor of the pool, I looked up. I could hear swishing and splashing. Faint laughing, too. My lips were tightly shut and my cheeks were as big as baseballs. Baseball-sized pockets of air, I thought. When you’re holding oxygen in your lungs for a long time, you hit a barrier, a halfway point, when you have to exhale your carbon dioxide. I wasn’t going to hit that barrier because I had exhaled on the way down. I looked around the pool floor a bit longer. I’m doing good, I thought to myself. My hand came up to feel my hair. It was as if my scalp was growing anemones and skinny eels were hiding in them. When my hand came back down on its way to touch the nearby grate, it accidently nudged my goggles. Water began to slowly seep into them. Shucks! I wasn’t able to open my eyes under the water yet; I hadn’t learned how. I watched the water rise for a short while then turned my head downwards towards the ground. The grate swirled and rippled through the puddle of water in my eyepiece. I closed my eyes right around the same time I started to panic. My chest had started stinging but it seemed to get worse in just a few seconds. I immediately threw my head up and stood up on the pool floor. I thought about health class. What happens when people drown is that blood stops going to your brain. If blood doesn’t go to your brain then you can’t think and you die. I squatted near the grate and pushed off with my feet. I made my hands as aerodynamic as possible to quicken the surfacing. I do the same thing when I run. Without sight, I worried about not knowing how far I was from oxygen and my dad. I kept pulsing my feet and hands, more erratically now. My brain is running out of blood! If I can’t think, I’ll die! I felt enormous stress.

Finally, my hands poked out of the water. In one swift movement, I pulled myself out. A gust of wind vacuumed into my lungs and I emptied my goggles one half at a time. I looked at my dad but he wasn’t looking at me yet. I held to the side of the pool waiting to catch his eyes. I watched him rub lotion on his psoriasis for a few seconds. I breathed rhythmically and tried to relax. I looked at our pile of things: my shoes, his towel, wallet, coins and hearing aid. I looked back at my dad, my face contorted by my rigorous squint. A few more seconds went by and he glanced over at me. With one hand, I told him I almost drowned. Really? he asked. Yeah. Were you scared? I nodded.

He looked at my arm and saw his watch loosely latched around my wrist. Is that mine? I told him that it was and he told me that it wasn’t waterproof. I looked at the water that had collected inside the faceplate. I said sorry. He bobbed his head back-and-forth and simply signed that it was okay but I could tell he was frustrated. He had that watch longer than I could remember but I never knew it couldn’t go underneath water. I felt bad.


Created: Jan 06, 2010


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