Not so Summer Fun

The July after turning thirteen years old, I was one of the older children swimming in a pool with our community “Summer Fun” group. Lizzie was a skinny seven-year-old neighbour girl who would ride on my back in the playground and sit beside me while doing crafts in the hall. Growing up, we always had a pool, so I was a confident swimmer. I remember being in the deep end and turning around in time to see Lizzie behaving exactly as the Winnipeg Free Press article below describes. I swam over to her and whimpering, she grabbed onto me and her weight forced my head under the water. I managed to push her far enough away that she let go of my neck and lifting her high enough that her head was above the water, I began kicking toward the shallow end. When my toes touched the bottom, I sprang up, took a breath and went back under. Luckily, I only had to do this a few times until we were shallow enough that I could stand. The few who noticed thought we were playing. Neither of us spoke as we both fought to catch our breath and with wobbly arms, I carried her to the end of the pool. The look in her eyes and the surreal feeling afterwards is something I never forgot.

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