The process of drowning is quite meticulous. When I see it, they thrash and resist the undenying pressure. If you can’t swim, you’re gone. If the current wants you, you’re gone. If you cramp or swallow some algae, you’re most likely gone too. Why not just submerge? If a she-devil kisses you, will she pull you under or give you sweet sweet air?
“Vroom! Vroom!” The fire truck crashes through the air, over the fire and burning house, before splashing with a plunk into the ocean. A spray of water drops onto the linoleum floor and into my eyes. Oops! “Hurry! The house is burning up!” I scream and sweep my blue bucket through the water. I drop my fire truck and dump the liquid onto me. It trickles through my hair, traveling over my eyes.
“Noa, come here.” My mom walks into the bathroom with a towel in her hands.
I wipe at my eyes and look at her through my lashes and shaggy hair. She sweeps it out of my face before pulling me out of the tub and wiping me down. I shiver at the abrupt coldness, my skin scattering with bumps. Mom pulls clothes onto me and I grab my firetruck from the water before the drain sucks it down. I hear mom emptying the bathtub as I run away. I pounce on my bed, huddling under the cover to warm up.
I love the smell of Mom’s cooking, where tonight all we eat is pancakes for dinner. It didn’t matter that it was the only thing at our house for the moment. I love to lounge on the couch with her, trace her face with my clumsy hands. I love the color of her hair, no matter if it were blonde or green. I love to see myself inside of her.
We orbit around oxygen, it is like gravity, a function that keeps us here. Keeps us breathing. Without it, there’s that pitiful burn in our lungs. The water will do nothing to ease the itch in our throats, rather flush us with an overwhelming scorch. The esophagus though, will attempt to regurgitate the unwanted element, because before water, we need oxygen to survive.
“Yum!” I swallow the fluffy goodness and moan with my eyes closed at the tastiness. “Yummy! Can we have it again tomorrow?” I ask Mom, pleading her with my eyes. I know we’ll have to eat it again anyways, but for her sake, I beg for more.
At first she shakes her head no, but again I ask with a “please.”
“Alright, but after that it’s back to healthy dinners for you.” She says knowing that she has no clue to what she’s going to feed me for the rest of the week.
“Can I watch a movie tonight?” I ask after putting my plate on the counter.
“Sure, go pick one out.” Mom agrees, then goes to the sink and rinses the dishes of syrup. I hear the spray of water from the faucet, washing away the remains of my dinner.
I pick out my movie and insert it in the dvd player. Mom comes to my bed, her hands cold and damp now. She sweeps her fingers under my hair, across my forehead where she can now kiss the spot.
“Go to sleep Noa, I’ll be back by the time you wake in the morning.” Mom instructs, assuring me she’s coming back.
After the struggle is over, when your body is too heavy to control, all you can do is just sink. Even though your eyes will sting and your vision will blur and darken around the edges, you just have to watch above you. Where the rays of light appear so majestic, where you’ll never be again. In your mind, the life you lived will stream by in a swift current, because the lack of oxygen to your brain can function nothing else. Now, for your few remaining seconds, it is time to reminisce.
It was the nightmare that woke me in the middle of the night. I knew even in my trembling state, my mom would not be here to comfort me. She’s out working. I decided I’d just wait for her. So, I dragged my blanket to the couch which was positioned in front of the front door, curled up into a ball, and waited. She returned right before the sun rose and found me. Today, I guess she chose, we’d lay there. Mom curled up on the couch with me and we slept.
Later that afternoon, I grabbed my blue bucket and goggles. Mom dressed me in my swim trunks, she wore her swimsuit, and drove us to the beach. She played with me in the water, collected seashells, and bathed in the sun. I splashed about in the waves, fed the seagulls, and built sand castles. Then, the sky darkened, the waves got more expressive, and it began to rain. Mom wrapped me up in a towel and told me I could sit in the front with her. That filled me with glee, because she knew I loved to watch the rain from the windshield.
Driving home, we listened to her favorite music which lulled along with the rain beating down on our car. “A perfect combination of sound,” my mom liked to say. But, when she hums, I believe that is the most beautiful muse to my ears.
Your body will sway against the water’s base, nestled there until it’s time to rise. Fish will have nipped at your sodden and softened flesh. You’ll lie there in the dark, cold floor, staring up to the surface. And wonder, after every other thought has swiveled through your head, will they find me?
I look out to the ocean, between the water and my mom, and know I want to live here forever with them both. Maybe own a boat, and take care of mom. I could sail the ocean on a great big ship! I place my firetruck, which I had put in Mom’s purse, on the car-siel and watch it race on the road through the window. Driving away.
Three minutes to spare, and you could be alive again, but only if the she-devil grants it so. The question still remains.