They took her to the hospital in am ambulance. I stood on the beach, alone, wrapped in Rose's pink beach towel, and watched them load her in.
At least she was breathing, now. At least she was alive.
I had saved her. I think. I vaguely remembered her hair, dragging her, screaming when she wouldn't open her eyes. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the lifeguard that had helped me pull her out running across the beach, towards the ambulance. He stood a respectful distance away from me and together, but not quite together, we watched the sirens fade into the quiet afternoon.
I looked up and suddenly he was there in front of me, the lifeguard, I mean, smiling with a finger hooked into the pocket of his red swim trunks. He was taller than I was and looked older, but not too old--the kind of guy Rose and I would have watched from a distance while suntanning on the beach.
"She's be okay," His voice reached me as though from far away. "I got her breathing again. They doctors just need to make sure that the water came out of her lungs."
I nodded, staring at his feet on the sand. "I don't know why she started to--I mean, Rosie can swim. We both can."
The lifeguard laughed. "Yeah, I saw you out there. I see you both a lot, actually. It must be fun to have so much free time during the summer. As soon as your friend recovers, I bet you'll both be right back out there diving in the waves."
"You really think she's be okay?" I murmured.
He smiled sympathetically. "Of course I'm sure. I'm a lifeguard. It was pretty scary though, wasn't it? You were brave, to go after her like that."
I nodded. "I guess."
He shrugged. "You could make a good lifeguard someday. Hey, look, if you want--I could give you a ride to the hospital. My shift is just about done and my car's right over there." He pointed towards the parking lot.
"I'd like that," I said, thinking only of seeing Rose.
He grinned as we started walking. "I'm Eric, by the way."