Sarah Allen- Memoir

Sarah Allen

Mr Jockers

ILA period 3



Closest Thing to a Dragon


I’ve always viewed my mother as very dragon-like.  A snarling and protective and short-tempered and caring and fire-breathing mom.   In short, a mother-dragon to be feared and loved.


It was summer, after 5th grade.  I was in the Outer Banks (North Carolina-Virginia, not sure which) at the beach.  Maybe waist deep in the water.  The sea was pretty rough that day…  After I sort of stumbled back into solidly standing against the sea’s shoves, I looked out at the incoming waves.  My eyes just stared out, not really taking the seascape in.  “Wait… What was that?”  The thought flashed through my head.


A huge wave, rolling, thundering in with that stampeding noise, slammed into me.


My legs jerked out from under me.  I should have instantly thought something like ¨water! get out!  need air!¨ yet I was down before my brain knew it, the cold saltwater pushing against my squinched-closed eyelids.  Before I had went under, I had pinched my nose shut with my fingers- I didn’t trust myself to blow out of my nose under any water (and still partially don’t).  Now, the powerful wave made my fingers slip, ripped away from my nose.  And saltwater filled my nostrils.  And then flooded into my lungs.


A bitter taste, ringing out from the back of my nose, cried and stinging carried throughout my lungs and airway.  My body instinctively gasped for air, instead pulling in water, a salty smell appearing faintly.  My lungs seemed empty and my limbs heavy with desperate need for oxygen.  Sinking, pulled and tossed in the waves.  Hidden under the wave’s noise, I swear I could hear my own jerking limbs, fighting for life, fighting for air.


All I could think was just to thrash around.  Push.  Kick.  Roll.  (Was that sand?)  No poetic goodbye or frantic mantra, just watery silence, a roaring White Noise.  It was this heavy thing, weighing down on my ears.  It did not allow a moment of quiet or a snippet of anything but animalistic urgency


It was silence.  And it was instinct.  A kick in the reptilian part of the mind.


It was a void; a loss of senses and emotion.


A hand grabbed my arm, warm with life and sound and emotion against the numbingly cold, silent, and deathly “Styx River”.  They yanked me out of the water.  “Who?  Who is that?”  I thought, my eyes still shut tight.  I stumbled to the shore and my lungs still burned and drops of water were still gathered around my eyes and I kept coughing and kept forcing air into my lungs.


The hut sun felt scorchingly and delightfully warm compared to the freezing, dripping water sliding onto the sand.  When I sucked in a deep breath, I could still taste it.  The ocean.  Gulls, circling in the cerulean, cried in a cackling chorus.  The dusty sand stuck to my ankles.  I looked around, the last of any (real or imagined) water away from my eyes.  Barely anyone had noticed the half-drowned girl…. In that moment, I despised the species of Homo Sapien Sapiens.  They were selfish.  They would only care if my death affected their vacation.  Pigs.


I looked at my Hero.  Mom!  I was reassured to see her.  I coughed some more, water still trying to drag me down. Not today.


The lifeguard ran over.  She went straight to her job,  “Is there any water in your lungs?”


I coughed,  “Yes…. No… I don’t know…”


“Bend forward, it will help get the water out,”  She instructed,  “You need to get all the water out of your lungs.”


I nodded and coughed more.  “Are you okay?”  Mom asked.


“Yeah,”  I wheezed,  “I’m fine.”  My lungs shoved at the unwelcome liquid mixture.  “I’m fine,”  I repeated myself,  “I’m fine.”

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