SMFH! I can’t believe I am drowning! Not like this! Not here surrounded by little kids. Not in this small pool. This is not supposed to happen to me, what cruel irony. I am always careful around bodies of water, but here I am fighting for my life, everyone around me oblivious to my plight and I am too proud, scared and embarrassed to scream for help. Maybe it’s fate; maybe this is how I am supposed to go. Some people believe that people die from their biggest fears. If that is true, then today might be my day. Maybe it was always leading up to this day. I narrowly escaped drowning two times before and in 1999, four of my classmates drowned at Hellshire Beach on a Biology class trip. I was supposed to have been on the trip, but like a scene out of the movie The Final Destination; I decided that I wasn’t going on the trip. Four years earlier my classmate and his brother drowned in a swimming pool. Now here I am in my present predicament. I can’t believe I am drowning!
Imagine the headlines, Imagine what Cheese and my other friends will say? I will never hear the end of it [if dead people could hear I mean]. They will probably have a hearty laugh before they shed a tear. I know Points will laugh. He finds humor in the darkest of situations. Those were the thoughts going through my head as I was being overwhelmed with chlorinated water. I often hear that in near death experiences your life flashes before your eyes. Well, here I was drowning, and there was no flash. It was pitch black! I was scared, embarrassed and struggling to make my way to the top of the pool. How did I find myself in this position you ask? Well, ten minutes earlier, I was lying under a tree on a beach chair at Margaritaville in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
I am always looking for an opportunity to go to the beach and on this fateful day it just happened to be a beautiful Saturday in August. A perfect day for the beach. I don’t remember how we ended up at Margaritaville because it wasn’t one of my favorite beach spots. It was a little too touristy for me. It was small, and it gave off a manufactured vibe. It was free entering, but whatever they lost in admission, they expected to recover from the price of the food and drinks. Since we were already there, we decided to make the best of it.
Cheese was my partner in
crime fun. He was always up for anything. He knew how to have fun, but he was also a little crazy. It was like a full-time job keeping him out of trouble. Cheese didn’t waste any time. He was in the water before I had time to change my mind. The water was calling my name, even if I didn’t want to answer, I had to. After about ten minutes I had had enough. By this time Cheese had wandered behind the safety ropes to play with some kids on this huge inflatable ball. I knew that was out of my depths both literally and figuratively. The beach chairs under the Almond tree seemed like a nice spot to figure out what we would do for the rest of the day. I already knew we would end the night at the casino. We were always at the casino. It was an entertaining spot to hang out, eat and drink for free and win and lose some money. As I laid there in a peaceful slumber, I could hear kids playing behind me, through the music coming from the bar and the patrons talking.
I don’t know how I didn’t notice the water slide before. The kid in me was telling me to try it out, after all those kids looked like they were having fun. Cheese was enjoying himself, and here I was laying on a beach chair drifting in an out of consciousness. I didn’t give it much thought. I went for it. Totally forgetting to check the depth of the pool and completely ignoring the fact that the kids were wearing life vests. As I cannoned out of the water slide and into the pool, the momentum forced me to the bottom, except the bottom wasn’t where I expected it to be. I was in trouble; the water easily covered my six-foot frame, and my feet were nowhere near the ground. I started to panic; I closed my eyes, and in an act of utter desperation I began to swing my arms and kick my feet, hoping this motion would take me closer to the edge of the pool.
It worked! When I opened my eyes, I was at the edge of the pool with the lifeguard looking down at me with a stare I can only imagine said:
I didn’t care, I was shell-shocked and embarrassed, but I was alive. The entire ordeal lasted less than thirty seconds, but it was an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.