So Much for Lifeguards

December 18, 2009
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We were in Ocean City, Maryland that year for our summer vacation. I remember, my brother, Caleb, and I were excited especially because this was the first time we'd be swimming in the Atlantic Ocean.

That was a big deal for us, you know.

We ran out with our boogie boards and dove into the water. Instant warmth. It was like walking into a hot tub.

Pretty soon I discovered that about twenty, thirty feet out, there was this really high spot in land, where the water barely lapped at your ankles. I went to get Caleb and leave our boogie boards at the shore, so I could show him the spot.

Mistake number one and two.

We walked. And walked. And walked some more.

And then suddenly my brother was screaming bloody murder.

"Jasmine! Jasmine! I can't touch the bottom, oh, God, I can't touch the bottom!"

I knew what he meant. I was only a few inches taller than him, and I was on my tip toes, now. That was my final clue that something was seriously wrong.

Caleb was screaming for all he was worth, sputtering on the salt water that made his way into his mouth.

"We're gonna die! Jasmine! We're gonna DIE!"

"Caleb!" I snapped back. "We're not going to die. I promise. You have to relax, okay? I'll get us out of here!"

A surfer came out of nowhere and we yelled and waved at him frantically. He gave a us a weird look and a half smirk and floated off.

Jerk.

I started towing Caleb to the shore, but man, he was heavy! And as an accomplished swimmer, I only knew how to take care of myself.

A boy on a boogie board came up and asked us if we needed help.

"Yes, thank you!" I gasped. "Take my brother on your board to shore, please."

So while the redhead towed my brother to shore, I used the last ounces of my strength to swim back myself. I almost beat the boy there, too.

Caleb and I thanked the boy before collapsing on our towels.

I wasn't going swimming in the ocean anymore that day.

We were silent for a long time, and then I said,

"Where the heck were the lifeguards?"





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