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Water Block This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Foot prints follow behind me and disappear slowly as the heat evaporates them. I look back and see my father smiling at me. Looking down at the bright blue shining pool, I bend over my tiny feet and look into the deep abyss. Before I can get there, I am lifted off my heels and toes and enclosed in a soft cloud of warmth. I find myself holding my breath. I need air. I inhale and familiar liquid rushes down my throat. Only this time, the water will not stop flowing. Water crushes down on my body and floods into my lungs and I am drowning. I can no longer think, and I panic. Tears develop from my eyes and do not appear underneath the water. Suddenly a hand breaks through the barrier of the water and grabs onto my yielding arm, and I am lifted from the abyss. I look into the distressed face of my father and cry. My father, my hero, holds onto me and comforts me.

Thirteen years later, I wait for my father to come home from his visit to China. A phone rings, and it is not my father. The woman speaks Chinese and reports that my father is ill and is not able to return home on schedule. Water has filled his lungs. I panic. This was not the same water that had enclosed me. It was lung water—Pulmonary Edema. How can I help my father? Well, I can't, physically. My father took away the water from my lungs and saved me. However, this time, I cannot take the water away from him that crushes down on his lungs. I cannot break through the barrier between the United States and China like he broke the barrier between the air and the water to save me. Any arm that I reach out will not be reached by him, and I think to myself I cannot do anything. I am hopeless to try and save him like he saved me.

I, however, can support him mentally. Sympathize with my father, telling him that it was the tobacco's fault, not his usage. I tell him I love him and that we miss him. I listen to his grievances.

Behind me, I see my father young and strong, and now, through the telephone, I hear the age and weakness creeping up on him. Who is my father? He is human.




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