I remember being in a pool with my family. I was very young and I was riding on someone’s back because I wasn’t tall enough to stand in the water. It was fun, but then I slipped off. The next thing I knew, I was underwater and I was looking at everyone’s legs. Lots of blue water and lots of legs. I don’t remember anyone reaching in to save me. I somehow made it out and I tasted chlorine.
I remember being at the beach. I ran towards the water and then ran away when the waves came in. I was really good at it until I was too slow and I got knocked down by one of the waves. I got up and tried to make my way back to my family, but as I looked up, the ground wasn’t leveled anymore. It moved sideways and I stumbled my way towards the dry sand. It took me a few minutes to find my family.
I remember being in summer camp. I loved going in the pool during our free period. One of the counselors offered to teach me how to float. She held me in her arms and slowly let go, but I began to sink each time. She got frustrated and the lesson ended. I was near the 4ft area. The part where it quickly drops off to the 6ft area. I must’ve been pushed by the moving water because I slipped into the deep end. I kicked my legs and waved my arms. I yelled, “help!” the few times I was able to get my head above the water. Even though the pool was surrounded by lifeguards, no one came to my rescue. All my kicking and waving eventually got me back to the 4ft area and I quickly made my way towards to wall.
I remember being in a community pool. I had a small floating device around my stomach. It wasn’t much, but it made me feel confident, so I followed everyone else and made my way across the pool. Halfway across the 10ft area, nowhere near the wall, I had a mishap. I began to struggle to stay afloat. There were no lifeguards in this pool, but my dad was across the way. I tried to call out for him, but I was silenced by the chlorine water in my mouth. My dad didn’t hear me. The wall seemed so far away, but I kept reaching until I was safe again.
I remember being in college and thinking that I should conquer my fear of water. I signed up for a swimming class. I was scared shitless. On the day of the final, I was shaking. I stood outside of the deep end of the pool, waiting my turn. One by one, my classmates jumped in. I thought about backing out. Of running back into the locker room and failing the class. I’ll take salsa dancing next semester. But, this was it. My turn came up and I took the deepest breath I could and I hopped in. The professor told us to not to panic. Look up, reach for the stars, pull yourself out of the water, now deep breath. I turned onto my back and began kicking. I kept my head back. My skin felt itchy with sweat. Cmon’. Cmon’. My legs felt tired. Don’t stop. My back was beginning to curve. Cmon’. Cmon’. I straightened my back. Keep breathing. Almost there. I wanted to cry, but there was no backing out now. I must be halfway there now. All I had to do was swim to the shallow end. How am I not there yet? My legs began to burn. Would it be really terrible if I just rested for a bit? I began to sink. What if I can’t get myself out this time? The ceiling lights beamed down on me, but pretty soon I was surpassing them one by one. Finally, I saw the 3ft sign. I slowly lowered my leg to see if it was true. I felt the hard, grainy floor with my toe and immediately stood up.
I had voluntarily jumped into the deep end and then swam to the shallow end for the first time that day.