Imminent Danger

Imminent Danger

A Story by Faith
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A personal essay

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    Summer days in southern Minnesota are like any other, the hot sun seems to live on your face while the sweat from your brow begins to run dry. To escape this heat we, meaning Eustice, Kevin, Isaac, Patrick, and I would go swimming in the apartment pool. The pool was nice with its lightly tan cement, its black fence, roughly 18 yard length pool. From cannon balls to the stinging superman soar that pool had more splashes than I care to remember. Days went by so quickly in that mid-summer of 2004, where we wasted much of our time standing in that pool playing Marco Polo or sitting on the cement edge with our legs rapidly descending from the air to the water and then back again. Being that this pool was at an apartment complex, many times we would see other tenants in their swimming trunks and bathing suits almost to the point that the 30 max capacity sign seemed to just be there for decoration. One faithful day that I was there I saw a brown haired girl with a one piece bathing suit that had the prettiest flowers on it. Now the flowers weren’t realistic it was imprinted on the fabric like one of those “Hawaiian shirts”, nonetheless it was pretty and caught my attention. The name of the girl escapes me maybe I should have asked her, but my words tend to get tangled like a hairball when I try to speak at times. I was always shy so I watched from a distance, which was really just from the three feet end of the pool, as she was on the other end which was five feet the deepest part of the pool. For sake of a name, I’ll call her Rose for the red flowers that were on her white bathing suit. As I continued to watch Rose, I noticed she was with her family, she had an older sister who resembled her mom who sat on one of the chairs near the five feet end, and her dad who was dressed in all white. Individually, what stood out to me was the fact that her older sister seemed quite comfortable in the water as she swam the freestyle format so effortlessly and graceful like a swan. In fact, she also wore white too, but with pink flowers on her bathing suit. It was very evident that she was older not just by her physical features where you could see the height difference and as I looked closer her face was more matured, but from how she interacted with Rose like she was the teacher and the pool was the setting of the class. Their mother wore one of those beach hats that came down on your face as if the brim of the hat was left undone, it was lightly tan as the cement but even lighter due to the water that had now splattered onto the cement because of the dives that were going on. She seemed to take comfort in just watching her two daughters and laying on the chair with her dark squared sunglasses basking in the sun while chatting at times with her husband. It was a really nice day for a tan, the sun was out with barely any clouds in sight. Then as I looked at Rose’s father I couldn’t stop thinking why is he wearing all white from his sneakers to his white cargo pants and plain white t-shirt I just couldn’t understand. He, of all else, seemed out of place, even the mother had a nice flowery dress that was purple and contrasted with yellow flowers, so at first I didn’t even think he was related to them until I noticed how they conversed with each other, and it seemed brown hair was a dominant trait in their family. Still looking on I began to notice that Rose’s sister was beginning to conduct class. The lesson was to swim, and Rose was the student. As they started in four feet I noticed how uncomfortable Rose was in the water she was like a fish out of water, she would stay near the edge of the pool as her sister swam around her enticing her to try almost as like one of those movies where mermaids are evil creatures who lead men to their drowning death. At times, Rose would go closer to the middle and leave the edge which in a way had become her life jacket to join her sister who seemed to be having blissful fun. If Rose would begin to sink, her sister would bring her up and get her back to the “life jacket.” In those moments that she was getting back the air she needed, I couldn’t help but notice how tentative her expression on her face was even as she would smile back at her sister almost as to say, “let’s keep going.” Eventually, they moved on to five feet but this time it was diving practice as Rose’s sister dove in like professional diver just minus all the twists and flips. I admired how it seemed as if water was her playground like how a child plays so easily in a sandbox. It was like she truly was a mermaid as she came up just poking out her head I thought to myself “haven’t I seen that in a movie.” She then began to tell her younger sister to jump in and, like a younger sibling would, Rose did as she ran from a couple steps back and finally jumped time slowed for me, me who was just standing in three feet watching. When Rose finally came back up from her descent, it wasn’t as majestic, as her sister. She began to panic as she started to sink her sister tried to help her as she did before, but it was hard. Rose’s face was in distress and her arms were sporadic in movements unsure of how to react to this situation. Then when I realized if anyone was going to save this beautiful girl in the white red flowery bathing suit it surely wasn’t going to be her sister, then her dad dived in. The man dressed in white, a white knight if you will, saved the girl who I didn’t know but spent a lot of my time watching. Rose was crying as she sat on the chair next to her mother her face red wrapped in a towel and I stopped watching and left it alone for the danger was gone. How unfortunate for me for the dangerous moment, I watched was waiting for me.

Weeks later, it was another sunny day, more clouds this time which was good because the heat of today was a bit much as I looked into the distance and saw the heat waves. This was like any other day except Patrick and Isaac weren’t here to go swimming with us; they had a football game. So, Kevin, Eustice, and I went to the pool as we would always do on these dog days of summer. This time there was no one else there but us it was pretty early about 11:00am and as always the cold water was excellent compared to the hot air of the day. We started out just standing and talking about things from the day before. I wasn’t much of a swimmer, and as we started to go to five feet I thought to myself “I can’t swim,” neither could Eustice but Kevin could. So I went on and as Kevin got out and jumped into five feet and Eustice did too, but closer to the edge, I decided why not. It took me awhile to get the courage to and I did eventually. As I was in the air, nothing was really in my mind except that Eustice was now in four feet and Kevin was making his way there. When I finally splashed in, I immediately went back up, but staying up was impossible. “Help help!” I shouted but the water was drowning out my cries of desperation. I began to flail my arms up and down trying to jump higher so that they could hear me. My life did not flash before my eyes as they say, but what did flash was the water and the two bodies that I would need to help me to survive. I don’t know how many times I came up and went back down, or how far the droplets of water from my splashing went but I saw how far Kevin was and he was close enough. So with every ounce of my strength and God willing I managed to jump onto Kevin’s back holding onto his neck and seconds later he shook his head back and I fell off, but it was enough for me. The air that I desperately needed I inhaled and I was able to make it out of the water. The danger was gone and I was safe.

 Crazy as it may seem, but to me imminent danger is more sensible to anyone when it is about to happen to someone else. Watching Rose I couldn’t help but think “she is going to be in trouble soon.” I noticed how uncomfortable she was and as I watched her I thought how she would eventually come close to drowning. Her situation was quite similar mine, but I never thought it would happen to me. As I finally got out of the water, I really couldn’t believe I was actually struggling to stay alive seconds earlier or that I got myself in that situation. Looking at events in your life it is hard to predict the outcome or in these situations the danger that is very bear to befall you. Maybe because in your life you see it from your eyes, unable to focus on every other thing that can affect you.

© 2013 Faith


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Added on January 2, 2013
Last Updated on January 23, 2013
Tags: personal essay, summer, swimming, imminent danger

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Faith
Faith

Bear, DE



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