I was 10 and proud of the fact that I was the 3rd shortest girl in my class. It was summer and my mom had signed me and my brother up for swimming lessons at the community pool. I wasn't a fan of the lessons, but I loved being in the water. One afternoon we were playing in the pool after our lessons. I explored how far I could walk towards the deep end. The shallow end was 3.5 feet deep and I could stand at the edge with my head out of the water. If I tiptoed I could move several feet away from the edge with confidence. My brother, who could not stand in the pool, was traveling along the perimeter, hand-over-hand along the wall. He got as close as he could to me, pushed off the wall and landed on my back. I had been gazing longingly at the deep end where someday I would swim with mermaid-like ease, and was not expecting 40 lbs of boy to land on me. I couldn't stay on my tiptoes with that extra weight and my face went under. In order to breathe I had to push myself off the bottom of the pool and grab some air before my mouth went under again. I couldn't see what direction the wall was in, and just kept flailing, trying not to drown. My brother panicked as he realized that I was not capable of transporting him, but he reacted by grabbing more tightly onto my face and neck in order to keep himself above water. I don't know how long we struggled, but I was convinced he was going to kill me. Then, suddenly, strong arms grabbed us both, one in each hand and lifted us out of the water. Mike the lifeguard had rescued us and placed us gently on the side of the pool. My tears of panic flowed freely and mixed with the chlorine rivulets running down my chilled body. He asked me if I was ok, and all I could do was nod. I was angry and wanted to tell Mike, my mother and anyone else who would listen how horrible my brother was for what he'd done to me. Mike gave me a little hug, and wrapped a towel around me. I don't know how old Mike was, just that he was an adult and therefore much older than I. He was well-muscled and had a dark brown tan. He was also my neighbor, 3 doors down. After that day, anytime I would see him on the street we would say hello to each other, and he would always smile or make a little joke so I would laugh. He never made me feel embarrassed about that day at the pool. He was my hero, and I was so proud that he talked to me, just a kid from down the block, a kid who couldn't keep her head above water.
Causes Micki McNie Supports
Eco-Cycle, Boulder Homeless Shelter, Emergency Family Assistance Association,