The first thought that crossed my mind was, This water must be below or near to thirty-two degrees! Why would a middle school have a pool of extremely cold water in the janitor's office. Then I realized that this must not be the janitor's office. Then, lastly, I realized that I was drowning.
I couldn't see the bottom of the murky dark blue water, but I knew it must be deep. My feet couldn't find something solid to push off of. And then I felt a stabbing pain shooting up through my leg. My right ankle was being bent in all the wrong ways while I was trying to swim. I grabbed it in both my hands, which caused me to sink deeper in the darkening waters. I let go, and thrashed my arms and legs wildly, even though it caused me great pain, but went nowhere. I was falling backwards into the blackness. I didn't really know how to swim, I remembered, but I kept pushing.
Where was up, and where was down? I was suddenly lost in the waters, which had all turned the same color. Black. There wasn't any light, and I couldn't tell if I was attempting to float up, or if I was just pushing myself down. I felt a crushing force on my neck, followed by a ringing in my ears. I was running out of air. My chest felt like it had a two ton weight resting on it, and I knew I only had seconds left until I would run out of breath. I flailed my limbs in a last attempt to resurface, and then I gulped in a nice big lungfull of salty water. If I had still been concious I might've wondered why this was saltwater I was drowning in, but I was gone.
The black clouds were layered like a quilt, one forming the start of the next. The horrible ringing in my ears warned me that I had but a second until I would run out of breath. The storm clouds seemed to laugh at me through the translucent water.
Suddenly, ice water mixed with salt filled my nose, my lungs, my chest. I couldn't find the air, the life I was so hungrily looking for. My lungs yearned for the sweet taste of oxygen, and my heart burned for more time. Just a few more minutes before I died, so it had time to prepare itself. So it wouldn't be brutally tortured like it was now. My brain, however, was two steps ahead. It had already accepted death and welcomed it with graceful company. Why not give in and be rid of the pain, the burning of my throat, the scorching of every organ in my body? Why not surrender, and go to a place where there was no pain, only pleasure and happiness?
She begged for this. The mind of this three year-old surrendered and was asking to go to heaven so she would not have to suffer anymore. But her heart kept beating. Her eyes and nose and ears were gone, but she could feel the feeble and inconsistent rhythm of her little heart, no bigger than the size of her weak, tiny fist. And in that beat, she found the strength, the fight to go on. She found her eyes she found her hearing and she found her voice. And she screamed, that little girl screamed as loud as she could, breaking through the dark barrier that had been pulling he down. The barrier that had surrendered her mind, but not her heart. And that little girl opened her eyes to the wet sand of a long beach. And there she lay. Cold and wet, and alive on the beach in front of her aunt's summer beach house, staring up at the clouds, the quilt of dark clouds that had laughed at her while she kicked and splashed in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. And she smiled at them, because she knew she had defeated them because she was alive and out of that black water and laying on the beach, with her heart still beating.