Okay- so back to that part where I was dead. Want a recap? Go here.
After the nothing, I remember something around my waist, dragging me down, choking me. I couldn't breathe. I threw back by head and a sharp pain lanced through me, but the thing let go and I propelled myself to the surface. I broke through, gasping, coughing, crying. Oh, god, my head hurt.
My best friend came up behind me, clutching her cheek. I had launched my head straight back into her face. I wanted to say I was sorry, but I still couldn't breath, couldn't think. My vision was blurry and I felt like I was going to vomit.
The two pulled me out of the water and I tucked into a ball and tried to breathe. Crying made it hurt worse, so I tried to stop. I think they were talking about calling 911. "No," I objected, "my mom will be so mad," because getting in trouble was so important right now. But we were trespassing, and they were good kids, so we all tossed out the idea of emergency services.
"Did you hit your head? What happened? We didn't hear you come up for like ever but you can hold your breath so long that we didn't know anything was wrong for sure..." I could tell she felt guilty under her valley girl accent.
"I can't remember," and at that point in time, I couldn't. I remembered diving in and then waking up, floating above the floor of the pool with her arms wrapped around me.
"My mom's a nurse. She'll know what to do," so they half carried me to her car and I curled wetly into the back seat, sobbing quietly like Harry Potter clutching at his scar.
I'm sure we didn't tell her mom the whole story. If we had, there is no way she would have put a bag of frozen peas on my head and told me not to fall asleep. I had been underwater for more than a few minutes. There could have been serious brain damage.
I had hit the bottom of the pool hard enough that there was no bruise. When the blood vessels broke, all the blood had been squeezed out of the area into my scalp (yeah, found that out later) and left the area of impact bone white. Luckily, that made it easy to cover with make up. I never told anyone about that night, not even Ladybug, because I was pretty sure he couldn't be trusted not to tell anyone.
A few weeks later, my friends decided I should get over it. I had gained an aversion to the pool (I almost drowned, you guys) and they wanted to see the old me restored. They brought our boards to a special section of the beach where the waves crest higher because of the rocky shoreline. It's a secluded area, and it requires scaling down the side of a small, shale cliff to get into the cove. I shimmied down the rope and we made our way out into the water. The waves were maybe three or four feet. I made my way out cautiously, smacking a huge piece of bubblicious to keep the extreme taste of salt out of my mouth.
I took one wave and started to relax. The sets got closer together, making it hard to get past them into open water. I made my way back out and grabbed another wave. I lost control and was pinned against a huge rock near the cove.
The waves battered me as I tried to keep coming up for air. I panicked. I started to remember hitting my head in the pool. I remembered hands around my waist, fire in my lungs-in my panic I couldn't remember what to do or how to get away from the rock, the waves, the current. One of the guys grabbed me, pulled me behind the rock, and towed me to shore. I gagged on saltwater and fear. I lost my board somewhere in the undertow but I didn't even care. I never wanted to go in the water again.
A scan later showed that I had fractured my skull in two places during my shallow dive. Twice since, I've felt the blow of hitting the bottom of the pool. I've gone to the ER both times. Now I can pay attention to the signs and take the right medication to hopefully prevent it from happening again. The doctor says that it's my nerves reliving the moment of impact-I say it's dying, over and over and over again.
This summer I was comfortable with spending a lot of my time swimming in the ocean. I was able to remember why I love it so much, but I still can't bring myself to dive. The sound of bubbles rushing near my head is the most terrifying sound in the world. The thing I most loved is the thing I now fear most.
These are the consequences of my arrogance.
It would make a great story. Too bad I'm not Greek.