Friday, August 31, 2007

Swimming Across The Channel or How to Almost Die When You Are 18 And Stupid

Flash Back Friday

I pledged a sorority when I was in college. One of the best experiences of my life and I still have friends I made back then, yada yada yada. But this post is not about my fabulous experiences with pirate buns and pillow fights with the other girls while dressed only in our panties. OK, that totally never happened, but think how many Google hits I may get now?

This post is not about that. This post is about the time I almost died.

Right after I went through rush, we went on a retreat to a big lake house for the weekend. It was a beautiful place, right on the gorgeous lake with a huge dock for jumping in the water and swimming. I put on my bathing suit and went out to the dock, where I proceeded to sit on the edge, dangling my feet in the water and shyly not talking to anyone. In reality, I didn't know anyone in the group. I had gone through open rush, which means I didn't go to any parties, I was just rushed all by my lonesome. So I didn't know the other pledges yet and I barely knew the older girls who had invited me over. And, at that point in my life, I was painfully, painfully shy. Believe it or not.

As I perched there, one of the older girls, a blonde goddess named Cec (short for Cecily and I would have died to have a cool name like that) dove in the water and proceeded to swim to the other side of the lake. Cec was on the University synchronized swim team, she was tall and lean and fabulous and the swim was nothing for her. And I thought "Hey. I am a good swimmer. I will be cool just like Cec and swim to the other side of the lake too!" And I dove in.

Nobody noticed. Nobody looked. Nobody saw. They didn't dislike me. They just didn't know me. They didn't care enough to notice me. And I began swimming.

By this time, Cec had made a complete circuit of the lake and was pulling herself out onto the dock and toweling off. She headed inside the house, never looking back to see me doggedly making my way across the lake.

And I kept swimming. I didn't realize that lake was so big. Those rocks on the other side looked just as big as they had when I dove in. The water was very deep. And very cold. And I was alone in it. My arms were getting tired. I finally stopped and hesitated, treading water. I looked back. Nobody on the dock was even looking my way. My arms were very tired. My legs were aching. And I suddenly realized how stupid I had been. I needed to get back. Right away.

So I began swimming back. Each stroke was harder and harder. My arms and legs were truly hurting now. I was panting. My head kept going under the water as I stroked and I choked a couple of times. The dock looked no closer. I put my head down and swam and swam and swam.

And finally I made it back. I pulled myself up on the dock, panting and heaving with exhaustion. I collapsed in a heap, trembling, and wrapped myself in my towel. I looked back over the lake at the rocks so very far away and closed my eyes in relief that I had made it back.

And nobody even noticed me.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

--> I <-- would have noticed you, had I been there.

But thats just me.

caw

Lucy's Mom said...

Oh, God Sis, that is so scary!! People drown everyday in just those kinds of circumstances. Hence, the "always swim with a buddy" mantra. I'm so glad you made it back safely. I can't even imagine my life without you!

Linda said...

We're all certainly noticing you now.