Two weeks ago, I returned from a two week vacation. I had a fantastic time visiting with friends on the other side of the country for the first week (HI MICHELE! :D) and spent the second week in San Jose del Cabo with my mom, my step-dad, and my sisters. Overall the trip was fabulous and included two highlights I wish I had more (or any!) pictures of: a So You Think You Can Dance taping (during finale week, too!) and the Breaking Dawn Concert Series stop in Los Angeles. For the SYTYCD taping they stole your cameras and cell phones before they even let you into the building (for obvious reasons) and my camera just doesn’t like no-flash dark room settings. Every picture I took during the Concert Series event was incredibly blurry. Either way, here for your viewing enjoyment are some of the highlights of my trip:
Our group with LaVar Burton. Yes. Seriously. You know you’re jealous! 😉
Ultimately, my sisters both got pulled under the water in a split second. Both of them just disappeared. I ran for them, but only ended up getting myself in trouble, too. Everyone survived, but the experience was harrowing. To say the least. In order to remember what happened and to help process the whole thing, I wrote it down. Eventually I plan on using this segment as part of a longer work–part of a short story or a novel–but for now it is what it is: a true account of five minutes of my life. Enjoy.
I saw her feet slip out from underneath her and I ran forward, still clutching my camera. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew I should throw the damn thing to the side, but it was tied to my wrist and I couldn’t let it go. I stepped toward the surf, reaching for her hands, but the waves were closer and stronger than I thought. As soon as I stepped into the water, I felt the pull of the current. I tried to move back, but the sand was slipping out from under my feet too fast. My legs were suddenly out of my control. My hands and feet dug into the sand. Scrabbling to get a hold of something felt like trying to claw my way up a waterfall. Finally, I lost contact with the sand altogether. I was pulled into the curve of a wave and thrown in a circle. Somehow, my arm stuck straight up, trying in vain to hold my camera out of the water. Every time I surfaced, I searched for the others, the ones that had already been pulled under. My eyes found the beach and I saw people running toward the surf. I screamed. I just wanted out.
I saw a man running into the water with a red lifesaver. The thing glowed in his hands, a guiding light and my ultimate goal. But he couldn’t reach me. Not without endangering one more person. He threw the raft toward me, but it didn’t come far enough. I swam, no longer caring that my camera was beginning to resemble a fish tank. I swam, but for every stroke I took forward, the waves pulled me back five feet. The man reached for me while struggling to keep from becoming another victim as I desperately grasped for the red beacon that was quickly becoming my only source of hope. I had no idea if the others had been pulled to shore or not. I had no idea if anyone else had been pulled into the water on our account. All I knew was that death no longer seemed imminent when my hands closed around the plastic red buoy. I couldn’t tell when I started getting closer to shore or how the man was able to resist the pull of the current, but somehow my feet felt sand again.
Warm arms wrapped around my waist and dragged me up the shore, tugging me against the riptide and speaking to me. I just couldn’t understand what he was saying.
“Keep walking!” he shouted as I fell to my knees. “Get up and keep walking! You gotta keep walking!”
“I’m trying,” I sobbed. “I can’t.”
“Keep walking! Just move your feet!”
I wrapped my arms around his shoulders and I could feel my fingers digging into his back without ever consciously telling them to. My plastic red buoy had been replaced by this man who had risked his life to drag me out of water I hadn’t ever wanted to enter.
He dragged, cajoled, and pulled me up the steep slope of the beach. Each step took more energy out of me than I thought I had left. The inexorable pull of the waves lessened as the man tugged me free of the surf.