Confessions of the Swimmer Girl

July 8, 2011
By , Wakefield, RI
Dear Dad,
It was a hot, long, sticky day when I made up my mind. Days like that were what I had prayed for every night, a day like that had been the bright light at the end of a tunnel. The light you can only catch a glimpse of when it is drawing near, yet even when you are miles away, that little voice in your head tells you that the light is always there; keep on going.

With a splash, I dove into the aqua, sparkling, clear paradise sitting in our backyard. Instantly, I was enveloped in the protection of the chlorinated, cool water surrounding me. I held my breath and concentrated on the wall in front of me. I pushed hard with my arms and legs, focusing on doing whatever it took to get to that wall, only to tap it and turn around again. I was a machine that cannot be stopped: no one and nothing could stand in my way. My powerful limbs and strong muscles helped me through the race, but I know that it was my heart and my brain that truly made me what I was known as: The Swimmer Girl.

Soon enough, you had come outside. Standing at the edge of the pool, you stared down into the water, watching me. You thought that I couldn’t feel your presence, your eyes boring into my swim cap, but I could. I’d felt it since you started doing this, over a decade ago. I also know that swimming was the only reason you didn’t send me to a Swiss boarding school like Kara and Brent, the only reason you hadn’t tried to get rid of me. You knew I was good at swimming- really good. I knew it too, the whole town did. But there was something about me that nobody knew, other than Ty. Who is Ty? Well, I can promise you that you’ll never find out, considering his name isn’t actually Ty- or is it?
48 hours. The thought of it circled around and around in my head- like a carousel on steroids. 48 hours until I could break through a wall of labels and reputations and rumors. In 48 hours I would, finally, be happy.
And 48 hours later, I was gone. Gone like the wind- I know, really cheesy. The reason I’m even bothering to write you this letter is so you know that I’m okay, if you even care. You need to know why I escaped, because I know you have already contacted the police, your future-Olympian daughter has gone missing. But dad, I’m happy now. And I know that you aren’t happy because you had planned on me getting a gold medal in the summer games as soon as my training was over, but then I wouldn’t have been happy. And I know that the world doesn’t revolve around me but I decided that I was tired of doing things just to please you, it was making me sick.
Finally- My confessions. One, I hated my life. I hated the hours and hours of swimming that caused me to become friendless. I hated you- how you were more of a coach and trainer than a dad; hated that I had no one to lean on. I hated that more people knew me as Swimmer Girl than my real name. But there was one thing in my screwed up life that brought me bliss- Ty. I loved how he called me Liz. Loved how he listened to me and understood that I had to swim, he knew how much I hated to let you down, too. Loved how he was my friend. Ty is the reason I am happy, he is the reason I escaped, he is the reason I ran away and am never coming back.
Love,
Your daughter, Elizabeth





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