Thursday, January 10, 2008

the nine times I've nearly died, pt. 1

So, in a short 23 years, I've had nine brushes with death. Times where, if things had been different by a millimeter or an ounce or a second or two, I'd be writing this in another life.

The first I was too young to remember, but I was afraid of the water for many years; until I learned to swim, in fact. I was one and a half or two; my first memories are six months or a year after this happened.

I was born in south eastern Georgia, the state, not the country. Little two bedroom trailer outside a little town called Sardis. And one day the young happy family goes to the beach, Mom and Dad and my brother Jason. I wasn't there, but this is how it is in my mind's eye. The happy family goes in their happy pickup truck, me and my brother in the back seat strapped into child seats, safe as we could be. (I remember that pickup from what must have been later in the year; I remember cold, and looking out at the bright moon, so close. I looked at a moon shaped tear in the fabric of the seat, very small, but I could touch it and thought that that must be what the moon was like, they were the same).

So, the happy family is playing on the beach, and Dad's out in the surf with me, and mom and Jason are I don't know where. Dad's a strong swimmer (was then anyway, I don't know about now, 21 years later), used to be a lifeguard. And he's waist high, maybe a little more, and throwing me up in the air and catching me. This isn't really a safe activity, I know, but I'm sure I loved it. I was flying there for a second, and what's better than that?

I'm willing to bet he was focused all on me, not watching the waves because he wasn't worried about the waves, he's a big strong man, weightlifter, welder, heavy construction his whole life. A big wave comes in and knocks him down while I'm in the air, inches out of his grip. I've seen people play with kids like this; the kid never goes too high. So he come up and I'm sure a little panicked, runs me into shore. I'm not breathing at this point, just to be clear. In the middle of drowning. He does the right thing though, probably held me upside down so the water would fall out of my lungs, and then did CPR and I came back.

Come to think of it the ocean doesn't like me. Next time, on Pt. 2, how the ocean almost killed me in the Yucatan. It's not chronological, but hey, it's my story, I'll tell it how I want to.

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