"...The one with eyes like the emerald city from Wizard of Oz. The way he stared at me left Jell-o in my tummy. It was like he loved me."
So I put on my swimsuit -red polka-dots if I recall correctly- and headed out. I thought for sure something would go wrong, it seemed inevitable. But I tore down the path anyhow, in that little red swimsuit. And when I got there I jumped. Just jumped, not knowing exactly where I’d land.
I shivered in the murky water, rubbing my eyes when I broke for the surface. I gasped the way you do when you come up from a long time under, but I’d only been under a few seconds. My lungs were little, and I was too.
So I drifted. I didn’t know it, but I did. And the current in the water carried me out farther and farther, and I giggled and dove and grinned up at the sun that was my very best friend. I suppose I stayed out for at least an hour, because my best friend was beginning to dissipate.
And that’s when the current got stronger than I could manage. My head went under when I didn’t want it too, and I gasped and gasped. I longed for daddy, to be closer to the rough sand on shore, to be held around the waist in security.
Each time the water went up over my little six-year-old head, I went down deeper. And then I went much too low. I kicked and screamed under the water, letting out the air in my lungs in the process. I flailed my arms around.
I started getting sleepy, and before long I stopped kicking. I blinked slowly, losing contact with the under water world I’d entered, and then they shut, and didn’t open again. I was dreaming. There were fish, and dolphins, and starfish and ‘jellies.’
They played with me. We played games of hide and seek, and tag. We found colorful stones on the floor. We traded, and laughed and had a ball. I never wanted to leave, I was happy. There was nothing to be heard; especially no yelling.
And then something happened. Something grabbed me. Hard. There were arms around me. ‘An octopus?’ I’d wondered. But I was moving upward. Like an elevator. Quickly, with little jolts rocking around in my belly. And then my head broke surface, and there was air.
I felt my body being yanked away from my new home in my liquid hide-away. I tried to whine in protest, but I only gurgled. My eyes flipped open a quarter of the way. Then half. And then I opened them and saw the stars.
‘I like the sun better.’ I thought. But these were my stars. They winked at me and made me giggle. I felt the rough sand I’d longed for on my back. The stars. The moon. But what had captured me?
I turned my head, and my neck popped in protest. And then I saw him. The one with eyes like the emerald city from Wizard of Oz. He stared down at me in wonder; he seemed to never blink. The way he stared at me left Jell-o in my tummy. It was like he loved me.
I coughed, and pieces of my hide-away came spewing out. My head lolled backward. I suddenly realized I was cold. I began to shiver and I wrapped my arms around myself. ‘Silly Ammy’ I thought. ‘Forgot a towel.’ I hummed in response to myself.
He was still there, standing now. I looked up at him.
“Hello there.” I said in my quirky, high-pitched voice. He cocked his head to the side. “You saved me.” and then he was gone. I was gone. Where had I gone?
Blue. It was blue. The sky. I laid on the sand, the sun warmed my skin and freckled my nose. ‘I love you, sun.’
I sat up and looked out at the home I’d created for myself. It was dancing for me, in little currents, movements of it’s body. It was calling to me. ‘Amity.’ it cooed into my ears. And before long I couldn’t resist.
I stood up, kicking off my shoes and my shorts, tossing my t-shirt off with them. I yanked the elastic out of my long dark hair and ran for my hide-away. I ran until I couldn’t anymore and then I went under. I saw my friends under the sea the saw way I had ten years before. Playful, and silent. Always silent.
I grabbed fistfuls of the soft, forever wet sand on the floor and broke through. I laughed when I felt the sun; my sun. This was my escape, my liquid wonder land. And I was Alice. There were no rabbits, or mad hatters, or queens, or cats here. I was alone, and loved.
I pondered how lovely I felt here. Beautiful, even. I looked down at myself shyly. I was growing up. The sun was warm, and my skin was enveloped in the hold of my home. I felt well. I felt whole.
Until I spotted someone too far out. I felt angry for a fleeting moment. ‘This is my home!’ I screamed in my head. But then I realized they were looking at me.
And that I’d seen those eyes before. The Emerald City…
Oh wow, how plans change.
This story was inspired by nearly drowning. I didn't think I'd write it so soon, but whadaya know? I get sick... and this happens.
I hope you enjoy. & Expect updates on Board Games. I'm not entirely sure yet... don't eat me... but I think Not a Barbie Doll might be on hiatus...