That Girl

October 15, 2011
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I never talked to Sammi. She was the popular type -pretty, cool and always surrounded by friends. I was the quiet girl who sat alone at a table to study. I wasn’t ugly, far from it, but I was shy and misunderstood.

I guess you could say I was jealous of Sammi, but what girl wasn’t? She always had a way of commanding everyone’s attention when you were in a room with her. And she was athletic, whereas I had trouble with my balance and was always on the floor within seconds of any physical activity.

Her life was perfect, where mine wasn’t. My father left us when I was barely two, leaving me, my sister and my mom, who’s stomach was swollen with the baby whom she couldn’t feed. After my sister Maggie was born, mom went out and got a hard laborious job, working as many shifts as she could to pay the rent. So my older sister Brittany raised us. I used to be outgoing and have many friends but then we started to move around a lot. And I figured, why should I make new friends, who I will just have to leave in six months. So I learned to keep to myself, not get to know anyone.

I finally moved to Bellevue, a small quiet town in Indiana. It was quite a shock moving into the middle of nowhere and being surrounded by farms, instead of the tall solid skyscrapers that used to fill my window. And that’s where I am now.

So when I see a girl like Sammi, I immediately feel closed off. No sixteen year old girl who gets a Porsche for her birthday, would ever be friends with a girl like me.

When I finally turned sixteen, all I got was a job as a lifeguard at the town pool. Where on the ground I was unbalanced and clumsy, in the water I was as graceful as an angel. I felt safe and relaxed surrounded by the calm water. Sometimes I’d just hold my breath and slip under the water letting the soft water caress my face and enclose me from the harsh world. I’d hold my breath until I couldn’t any more and when I‘d come up all the feelings of peace would wash away as I regained consciousness of reality.

My favorite place to go was a secluded creek a mile out of town. Almost nobody new about it so I was always certain that I could go there and not be bothered. Sometimes the waters could get rough though, and somebody who didn’t know the water like I did, could easily drown.

So as I made my way to the creek I never thought to look for any signs of people. I walked slowly down the path, to the place where the water met the sodden earth.

The water was especially rough and there was no way a person could safely go swimming. So, I decided to sit and start on a school project, under protection of a strong oak tree.

That’s when I noticed Sammi. She was already waist deep the current tugging at her body. She was alone, trying to swim against the current, which was tiring her. I immediately kicked into lifeguard mode, looking around for any long item I could throw in to pull her to safety. That’s when I realized there was nothing and that I’d have to go in and risk my own life to rescue her.

It was a big decision but I didn’t have time to think so I jumped in. The water was freezing and already I could feel my toes going numb. Every instinct my body had was screaming to turn back, but there was no way I was going to let her die. So I kept on swimming until I reached her. I looped one arm around her and swam as fast as I could, the violent water pushing at me.

It seemed to take an eternity, but eventually I made it onto land. As soon as I laid her down my aching legs went out from under me. We lay there, panting, letting our nerves settle down.

She finally spoke, saying how thankful she was. She had never thought to check the water before she jumped in. In that moment we seemed to form an amazing bond, one only best friends can share. We sat on the bank for hours just talking about each other, for the first time introducing ourselves.

I never realized that Sammi and I shared many things. Her father had left her family too but her mom had quickly remarried. They moved, just as I had, but while I was dejected she was determined to find trusting friends.

Eventually Sammi and I said our goodbyes, and I was sure once we went back to school that she’d act like nothing had ever happened, but I was pleasantly surprised. Sammi and I became best friends. We did every thing together. Sammi and I remained steady friends throughout high school and in the beginning of college, we were determined to say in close contact. But eventually we got new friends and our every night phones calls turned into once a month and soon stopped.

Sammi once said that she’d never stop owing me for saving her life. But she was wrong. She taught me to trust again and more importantly not to be afraid of changes that life may throw at you. And with that I will never stop owing her.

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