At the deep end


Fadzly @ Shutterhack / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

It was a fun day at the pool with my friends from school. It was either the start or the end of the semester that we were celebrating for and we came prepared for a pool party. And before long we were all wet and having an enjoyable time. Two hours in and I was still soaking in the shallow end of the pool, always at that part.
I’ve never been a fan of the other side; just thinking about not being able to touch something solid with my toes in the water gives me the chills. There is something intrinsically frightening about being suspended in the middle of the water. Which is why I can’t understand how I managed to put myself right there in such a situation on that faithful day.

I found myself floating about at the edge of the pool holding the sides of the concrete floor and travelling the perimeter of that regular artificial waterhole probably being jealous of the fun the swimmers and racers were having. Then I push myself diagonally from end to end paddling with my limbs as basically as a newbie swimmer getting more and more confident as I try out this unexplored territory. Somehow I pushed myself parallel to one side just enough that I can’t reach the edge with my hands. And then it happened. My legs failed to work. Even worse, they both cramped down and at the first milliseconds it didn’t register what funny sensation I was feeling down at my legs, it was ticklish wriggling I thought. Then I started to sink and I realize I couldn’t move them. Before I could cry out for help, I was submerged in the water and I eventually felt the bottom of the pool with my feet. With a panicked effort, I kicked and pushed myself up to the surface consequently feeling intense white hot pain from my legs. The gamble worked, I broke through the water and caught air. Flapping my arms uselessly but subsequently making noticeable but not actually deliberate splashes, I shout out for help.
Now I’m a real clown with my friends and understandably, and frankly forgivable, I probably brought this one on myself because the closest person in front of me just looked and dismissed my pleas as either a prank or a joke. So did the rest of the lot or they got frozen in the moment at their spots save one. The swimmer and funny man of the group dived from the opposite side of the pool and rushed to my rescue. That was the last I saw before I was yet again under the water. And in no time at all, I felt the arm of Mr. Bean, that’s what we affectionately call him sometimes, wrap around me in a rescue hold (where he had time and how he learned that we never knew). And I was saved.

I cough up chlorinated water and sat shivering by the pool. Then I see my legs spasm uncontrollably the sight of which was very surreal. Very thankful to my rescuer, I obviously learned quite the lesson – I should really learn how to seriously shout out for help the next time.

After that incident, I got real gutsy and learned how to conduct myself and properly swim in deep water. I guess learning the limits did give me some courage on how to approach something that I feel unsafe about.

P.S.
Mr. Bean and his family are survivors of typhoon Haiyan here in the Philippines. They were in their home at the heart of Tacloban City which was one of the worst hit areas when the storm surges came. If you read the post above, you’d understand how worried I was for the guy because he had rather the lifeguard spirit that one. Fortunately, they have recently managed to fly out of the City to Cebu leaving behind their heavily damaged home and business and are starting to recover from the tragedy.
If you can, please send your help to the victims of typhoon Haiyan through the help links I’ve posted previously. Thank you, Maraming Salamat.

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