The Floating Silhouette

The blue floating shape above me. It floats, still and lifeless with only a little movement from the push of the water. I need to get there, I need to get to safety. My legs! Kick, Move, DO SOMETHING!

I was in second grade, I think. It was either a Sunday or a Saturday and my sister and I were at the YMCA. Me having nerves of humiliating myself crept closer and closer to the door. Emily was practically bouncing wanting to go in and swim. She was full of enthusiasm and full of confidence. Me being the quieter one and less excited was nervous.

“Come on we can do this,” she said. “It won’t be hard!” I just went along with it.

“Ok, everything will be okay”

“Sure it will! We’ll both be swimming in no time!” (Easier said than done!). “Come on, let’s go we’ll be great at it.”

Emily was always there for me so I trusted her this time.  

We were both testing to see what level we were at. There was Minnow and Guppy and Tadpole and Fish and Dolphin and Shark. Before swimming, I considered if I should’ve been put into Guppy. Although, my Mom thought I had somewhat experience in swimming (sure) put my Sister and me in the Tadpole group. People in the water were kicking around and having fun, while the lifeguard kept surveillance on them. The sun burning bright made the pool’s surface glimmer and sparkle. The splash of my flip flops on the wet ground echoed around me. Instructors talking to their students. Chlorine fills my nose as we get closer to the pool. The humid sticky air, clinging to my skin. Compared to the air in the changing rooms, this is worse. We slid into the slick squirmy water, waiting to begin.

When the lesson started, we were in the deep end. This is superb! I can barely even touch the ground of the shallow end with my small height. The instructor threw us each a kickboard that knocked water into our faces. Then we made a line.  Emily was ahead of me with people in front and I had people behind me. 50 yards he yelled (what the heck is that?). I wanted to swim well so I decided to follow my sister’s lead. When it came to my turn, I copied the way my sister and the others held the kickboard and pushed off the wall. A few kicks here and a few kicks there. I was probably halfway out when it happened. All of the sudden the kickboard stopped. I turned around to find the others doing fine. The water rippling around me. The instructor giving a new set of directions to others. Close to the water the smell of the chlorine engulfs me. The cool water licks at my skin instead of the humid air. I take a look down and see the bottom of the pool. I grip the slippery kickboard. In addition to that slippery kickboard, I try to keep moving but I just don’t. That was when I sunk. The kickboard mustn’t have been able to hold my tiny weight (not likely) or I slipped off of it (likely).

Either way, I was sinking.

I realized this wasn’t good and I could “die”! I tried kicking to the surface back up to the buoyant, bouncy, board. Back up to safety. When that didn’t work I let myself sink. This is it goodbye, swimming with my friends was so much easier… Me with my simple second-grade mind didn’t realize that the instructor would dive in and “save” me, so I just closed my eyes hearing the kick and slosh of my sister’s feet above me. I wasn’t surprised that Emily could swim. After all, she was older than me and had better experience. Unlike me who merely even swam in a pool with my friends. I don’t remember him pulling me to the top, but I remember sitting on the edge of the pool watching the others, half crying and half not. The humiliation didn’t kick in until I got home because I THOUGHT my life was in danger. I couldn’t believe that this had happened. Sitting at the edge of the pool our instructor said something to me. I don’t remember what but it comforted me for the time being. I remember an ant crawling onto my foot and him flicking it off, but other than that I don’t remember much at that moment. After that, Mom came over to the instructor and they chatted. It was only a simple trial lesson, yet I failed it. Though it seems a simple thing, my second-grade mind was saying, I almost died today (most certainly not true).

Although I almost “drowned” that day, I guess life was trying to push me forward. Though I was scared, I probably should’ve done something instead of just giving up. I didn’t try hard enough to get what I wanted. I could’ve said I didn’t feel comfortable swimming but then I wouldn’t have pushed myself hard enough. To succeed you need to try hard and push yourself to try something new. Till this day now, I know how to swim! And I guess you could say that I’m pretty good at it too!

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