Water flows over my arms, my face, the tips of my fingers, dragging me down deeper into the dark. I can feel my legs become heavier, my mind fuzzier. Everything is quiet. Almost painful, it strains my ears and echoes in my brain. Everything sounds muffled and blue and distorted. My heart jumps in my chest, squeezing painfully. I can’t breathe.
The last thing I remember was my hand reaching out, trying to trace the water; it looked like glass. It was so mesmerizing, the way the water glittered, jewel-like, the way the waves rippled away from my fingers like they were frightened by my touch. I strained my hand, fingertips nearly grazing the surface.
My feet jerked and the sky tilted. The world spun for a moment, melting together into a terrifying mirage before everything was wet, cold and blue.
Pool toys bob over me and my hair rises above my head, swaying like seaweed. I’m so cold. The current tugs at my fingers and pulls at my clothes. My legs are stone and I let them drift with the current. I’m drifting. Like a broken marionette; my strings cut, floating around me. It’s so peaceful and quiet.
I hate noise. I hate the piercing whistle of the lifeguard, the squeaking birds, the constant chatter. I wish I could stay down here forever. It’s all so quiet. If I concentrate hard enough, I can ignore the burning in my chest. I focus on the sunlight streaming through the water, making everything glitter around me. I ignore the ringing in my ears.
The world shatters. Bubbles explode in my face like white dynamite as a large hand grabs my arm. I barely have time to register that someone has jumped into the water and I’m roughly yanked out of the pool. I frantically gulp for air, marveling at how crisp it feels. I can hear everything again and it’s disorienting, the buzz from the water replaced with shrill pop music. I cover my ears with my dripping hands. I wish for the serene calm that I found at the bottom of the pool, but the pain in my lungs quickly changes my mind. I dimly register my mother shaking me, asking me questions that pass through my brain without sticking. She was hysterical for the rest of the night.