As I drove home today and reflected upon my initial apprehension toward taking on the responsibility of being a caregiver to mentally disabled adults, my beloved childhood memory of braving the deep end of the pool at the age of five entered my mind. I was surprised when I had to tell Ryan the story again, but perhaps I hadn't told the tale in the first place.
Like a few of my early childhood memories, this begins like a snapshot slide show, each picture briefly flashing in my head. Many things that had happened before I lived in Long Beach were reconstructed by my mom, lending me images to remember when I couldn't find them myself, leaving me to feel as if they may have not been my own. The incident I recall about my first few days in kindergarten and writing "I SPEAK ENGLISH" in my elementary school hallway in crayon, due to no one believing that I could, almost sounds like a scene out of an Amy Tan novel.
Unlike that memory, where I don't remember the said frustration, I can still remember how I felt that warm day. The details are blurry, but I remember the satisfaction I had with myself in my one piece, the cockiness that perched high in my left brow, and my strut as I made my way toward the deep end.
Wading in the pool, I reclined like any drug lord aficionado in a jacuzzi; back taught (sp) against the wall as my elbows brimmed over the edge. After holding onto the sides and kicking my feet for half an hour, I began to feel my courage materialize as my left hand lost its grip and my elgs walked up the wall beneath the chlorine ladened water. I decided to push off.
I kicked my legs as best I could. I held my breath and closed my eyes, too cocky to believe that swimming required practice. I was too enveloped in childish daydreams of swimming like a dolphin to realize that I had buried myself beneath a foot and a half feet of water. With little to no practice in holding my breath, I opened my eyes and recognized my error in one exasperated exhale. I was going to drown.
In the midst of my panic, I saw a pair of brown legs. The chlorine in the pool had affected my vision, but not enough to stop me from recognizing my mother's bathing suit; a black and white checkered pattern on top and solid black on the bottom. With no time to waste, I made my way toward her, clawing and grabbing for anything solid in the water.I finally reached her, finding it safe enough to fall into unconsciousness.
Out of the pool and feeling the warm kiss of the sun's heat on my hypothermal body, I awoke to my mother rushing to my aide. Although I knew him as hero, I never learned my real rescuer's name but my mom called him "Baklah." It wasn't until years later that I would learn the meaning.
I've never felt any sort of traumatization from the incident, nor have I ever felt crippled to get into the water following it, but instead, was more inclined to learn how to swim. As I go further into this new line of work, what I must do is dive head first and hope an interesting story comes of it.
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