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Goggles This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Imagine you are in the ocean. You’re snorkeling; in fact, you’re about to swim over a coral reef. You’ve heard it’s astounding. The coral is ­brilliant shades of red and orange, an amazing organism you can’t even ­begin to understand. It’s bursting with hundreds of exotic fish of every color, shape, and size. You’re about there, your excitement building, and then you see it. You’re confused. You’re thinking, Am I in the right place? You don’t really understand why everyone says it’s so amazing. You feel like you’re missing something. And then someone points out the goggles still hanging around your neck.

My mom and I were watching my younger sister’s softball game from the outer fence while my two youngest siblings played in the park nearby. They ran around screaming and chasing each other without a care in the world.

Her team was doing well, up by two in the second inning. When my sister got up to bat, I was pumped. As she stepped into the box, I could clearly make out the determined look on her face.

The ball flew toward her and she pivoted, prepared to bunt. I found myself holding my breath with my fingers crossed, although I had seen her do this a million times. The bat contacted the ball and she laid down a perfect bunt, right along the third base line. I joined her ecstatic teammates in cheering as she sprinted to first.

Then she was on second base, and I watched as she concentrated on the next pitch. I saw the familiar sign to steal, and sure enough, right as the ball crossed the plate she shot from the base, sprinting as hard as she could to third. I was so certain she would make it that I sat back in my seat. But, as she approached, the third baseman suddenly appeared with the ball. I knew it was too late to slide, but she went for it anyway.

My sister was in midair when the third baseman tagged her forcefully on the shoulder. Disappointed, I watched her lose her balance and fall backward. Her helmet flew off and she landed flat on her back, her head smacking the ground.

My mom and I frantically ran onto the field just as my sister went into a seizure. It was the most terrifying thing I had ever seen. I felt my jaw drop and my mind go numb. My sister was shaking violently, her eyes rolled back in her head. One question terrorized my mind: Is she going to die?

I looked around, trying to fight back my emotions. Adults surrounded her with worried faces. My mom was trying to stay calm but was looking panicked. My sister’s teammates were not bothering to fight back their tears.

Standing with this group of people who cared so much for my sister, the flood of thoughts broke through and I grasped the reality of what was happening. What if this was the end? What if my sister was going to die? What if we never got to ride bikes again, or stay up until two in the morning talking, or make brownies together? What if she never knew how much she meant to me? What if I never got another chance to tell her I loved her?

After an eternally long 60 seconds she finally stopped and her eyes ­slowly opened. In a slurred voice, she attempted to tell us she was fine. But I knew everything was not fine.

I knew I had been taking my life, and everything in it, for granted. Not just the big things, like my family, but the small things too; things that had become routine. I had been going through life oblivious to the world around me. Oblivious to people who had helped me, to my friends, my teachers, my role models, and my ­inspirations. As my sister lay there dazed, covered from head to toe in dirt, I knew this was my second chance to appreciate. I put on my goggles.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own!

P. K. said...
Sept. 27, 2009 at 1:04 am:
Ya I wish you put more in about the seizure
 
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Madi J. said...
Sept. 18, 2009 at 7:58 pm:
Oh my G-O-D. In the beginning I thought it would just be a story about softball..... wow! it was really good i just think u should've added more as she was having the seizure
 
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