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The River

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The current was too strong, I was struggling to keep my head above water and her hand was slipping from mine. Only a second had passed since our two person canoe capsized. I could hear her calling my name, “Lizzie, Lizzie!” the crashing of the water on the rocks and the rushing of the river was so loud her screams were barely a whisper. I was freezing and my whole body ached from being thrashed against the cold, hard rocks. I was gasping for air, all my energy was being used trying to hold on to her hand. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw a large branch dangling over the river. I grabbed it as quickly as I could with all the strength I could muster from my cold, weak body. She was slipping further and further out of my grasp, “Don’t let go, don’t let go!” she screeched. Her face was red and her yellow helmet bobbed up and down in the green murky water. We were now holding onto each other by our fingertips. Out of nowhere the current abruptly got faster and I was pulled under water just managing to hold onto the branch. I pushed my head above the water gasping for air but I suddenly realised that I had one hand free. I looked up but she was nowhere to be seen, no bobbing hat, or screams just the river and me.
I sat up crying and in a hot sweat. It was winter in Dublin and my small semi-detached house was quiet apart from the distant buzz of traffic. I turned on my lamp and found what I found night after night, a soaking pillow from where my tears had fallen. I broke down again, six months had past since the accident in which I had lost my best friend, Allie. We were fifteen, and had been best friends since we were kids. Every night since the canoeing accident I have had the same nightmare and every night I have woken with the same realisation that Allie is gone and is never coming back.
That day is so clear and vivid in my memory. My dad was in Wexford for a weekend on a business trip, mum was missing him loads so I suggested that mum, Allie and I should go up and surprise him. It was Saturday morning and we knew dad didn’t finish meetings until five o’clock that evening, so we decided we would go up early and see what there is to do.
The three of us left at around eleven o’clock and arrived just outside Wexford at around one. It was a sunny and warm day and Allie and I thought we would make the best of it and go to this awesome outdoor pursuit centre where you could rock climb, abseil and canoe. Mum couldn’t swim and hated water so she sat in a coffee shop nearby while we got on these horrible wetsuits, red lifejackets and ugly yellow hard hats. Allie and I were so excited, we had never been canoeing before. Our guide brought us down to the river’s edge and we got in our little two person canoe. Our guide said he was going to walk down by the river’s edge and give us directions because the current was strong and would bang his canoe into ours making it more dangerous. We had been going great and it was so much fun. Suddenly we came up to this scary looking bend, Allie was screaming looking excited. She always was the thrill seeker out of the two of us! The guy was shouting directions to us but I couldn’t hear what he said so I asked Allie. She said she thought he said paddle back when you feel you are going too fast, so that’s what we did. Wrong decision, what he had actually told us was don’t paddle backwards. As soon as we started to paddle backwards the canoe turned sideways. We panicked and started to paddle making the boat rock. I was so scared, and then without warning a gust of wind came and overturned our canoe, my reoccurring nightmare happened next.
The next thing I remember is being pulled from the water and having people fuss over me. I felt like saying all I have are some bruises go and find Allie yet I couldn’t manage to get the words out of my mouth, after that is a blur. I’ve been told I repeatedly asked, “Where is Allie? Is Allie alright?” They spent hours and hours looking for her while I was in a hospital bed being poked and prodded when all I had were a few bruises, and Allie was still missing.
They eventually found Allie 3 miles down the murky green river, she had drowned.
Allie’s funeral was unbearable, I was numb. I looked over and saw the family of my dearly loved best friend and thought what if I had held on. I blame myself for losing Allie. I had the strength to hold on to that branch and save myself, but yet did not have the strength to hold on and save my best friend. Mum told me if I hadn’t held on to that branch I might be gone too, but I don’t care. All I can think of and have thought of since the accident is, “What if?” What if I had of held on to her? I could have saved her.
Allie was my rock the person I turned to when things were tough, the person I told everything to, the person I shopped for hours with and laughed with until I had tears running down my face. I didn’t just lose a friend that day, we were closer than that, we were family, like sisters.





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jenx0x3 said...
Aug. 9, 2009 at 6:05 pm
This is a really good article you should keep writing and maybe it will it will turn into a great book!
 
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