I sat on the edge of the boat with the rudder control in one hand and the rope controlling the sail in the other. I’m new at this and I’m not in my element. The wind rose and in one sudden movement, the sail was full and the boat was off balance. A second later, the boat capsized, I was in and the sail was flat against the lake surface. When my head bobbed up to the surface, thanks to the help of a life jacket, I was spitting out water and trying to figure out how I was going to get the boat upright.
It didn’t take long to get everything sorted, but for a second, I was five years old again, drowning in the Pacific Ocean. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but try as I might, I can never quite get comfortable around water.
My parents have a boat. When I was in my teens we used to take the boat out to Lake Arrowhead where we’d speed along until we found a quiet spot where we’d stop and have a picnic on the bow. My brother and I, never strong swimmers, but eager to cool off, jumped in. I felt a tug at my legs and as I kicked, I became more and more tangled in some high-growing seaweed. I was pulled under and just before panic set in, I stopped kicking, straightened my body and used my arms to push myself up to the surface. I glided to the boat and gripped the ladder. As I pulled myself up, I shouted to my brother for him to be careful. I haven’t been back in the lake since.
When I was in Egypt in May, I went diving. In a careless moment, I lost my respirator and got water in my mask. I took in a mouthful of water and as I tried to clear my mouth, I started to take in panic breaths. Water slipped down my throat and for a nervous 30 seconds I thought I was in serious trouble. At 12 metres down, surfacing was not an option and I had no way of knowing if the boat would be there anyway. I remembered my training, I calmed down and did what I had to do to get everything back into control. That was the first dive of the day and had I quit at that stage, I don’t know if I would have ever gone diving again. After lunch, I willed myself to go back in there. I enjoyed the dive having taken control of a dicey moment and I’m sure I’ll be back again.
I guess I’m a bit like a cat. A bit of water won’t kill us, but we’re not particularly at home in it.
How is it that something we need to survive, makes up approximately 70% of the human body and has such a soothing affect on me when in a fountain or seen from a distance can send my heart racing when I get too close?
Writing Prompt: Water Damage