by ann brown
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I’m a Pisces’s. I don’t know if that is relevant to anything or not, but my phobia was water at one time and my story is relevant to that.
My dad was like a mother hen when it came to his children. There was no such thing as letting us go to school functions or any other kind of function. Our mother died during childbirth and three days later our baby brother went back to be with her. Those were times of sadness and despair, but we managed to survive.
When I turned fifteen I continued to grow in rebellion against my father’s judgments. I wanted to be like everyone else, and so dad was pulling the reins tighter, and I was tugging against them drawing them even tighter.
“But why can’t I go to the sock hop dance?” Dad continued to dig up the dirt around the new potatoes in the vegetable garden.
“Not this time sis, maybe next time.” When would next time every come I wondered. I walked away exasperated.
The next day my friend, Jackie, and I sat side by side on the concrete steps that led to her porch.
“You think you’ll go to the last day pool party?”
“I don’t know yet.” I threw a pebble across the dew green hedges. “I will.” Dad would just have to say yes. Everyone in my class would be there, even the new boy. The girls were all giggly and silly over him but me I was sort of mesmerized by him
As the Earth’s cool waters turned warm, the sleeping foliage and plants shed their light spring clothing for illuminating summer wear. It was getting closer for the pool party and I still hadn’t found a way to approach my dad with this important matter.
“You gotta ask him so that we can make our plans.” Jackie insisted.
“I will.” I bit my lower lip. “Tonight.”
That night dad slowly lowered the newspaper from in front of him.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea sis, you don’t even know how to swim.”
“And why is that.” I cried out. The frown on my dad’s head buried deeper.
“The answer is no.”
“The answer is still no.” He said. And so behind my fathers back I prepared for the party.
Jackie removed the red polish from her baby toenail and started all over again.
“You mean he finally said yes?’
“Yeah.” I lied with what I thought was no qualms.
“I just can’t believe it. What swimsuit you gonna wear?”
“Don’t worry, you can wear one of mine.” That night I lay in bed formulating a plan inside my head. The next day I slipped a towel and flip-flops into my bag and after school I went to Jackie’s to dress for the party there.
The sun was like a healing balm on my skin, penetrating the earth, and spreading its rays all about. Guys in swim trunks splashed and played in the chloroprene water while gals modeled their youthful shapes in dazzling, fashioned, swimsuits. It was all so wonderfully harmless until I accidentally slipped into the waters above my swim level and found myself in a colorless abyss.
There was a sharp burning sensation that invaded my mouth and nose. Immediately I sank to the bottom of the pool. Grappling fiercely with the overpowering waters I started up again, but suddenly returned to the bottom. What had I learned about swimming? I remembered a TV program and so I put my hands together and eloquently pushed the waters away from me. Ok…Ok…I thought I might make it, but I only sank to the bottom again.
After the second try I remember that the person held their nose with one hand, and held up the third finger with the other. I realized that I only had one more chance and that’s when I began to bargain. “Please, God I’ll be good from now on.” I couldn’t feel my body anymore. Only my thoughts were there and then suddenly segments of my life were before me, a large movie screen. There was the time that I stole the Christmas fruitcake from my grandmother’s china cabinet and the time that I threw the worse temper tantrum because I couldn’t wear a particular dress that I wanted to wear. I was a terrible brat that day my mother cried because she couldn’t give me the ten cents that I wanted for a bag of popcorn. It all seemed so unnecessary. I’m so sorry Lord. That, and more flashed before me. I counted, one, two, three…my body relaxed and I began to pray again, Lord don’t let me die. Let me live not for myself but for the sake of my brothers and sisters. They will miss me so much. And my father, he will be so sad. And then I woke up.
I felt the cold concrete beneath me.
Water seeped from the side of my mouth
“Turn her on her back.” I heard someone say and then I looked up.
“She’s ok.” A pair of brown eyes beamed down at me.
I went home that evening not knowing the real reason that God had spared my life. I didn’t know that he wasn’t through molding me and making me for his purpose. How to tell my dad, I didn’t know, so I never did.
For years I could not cross a bridge without panic attacks. When my sisters and I went to the beach I walked the board- walk and I couldn’t feel the warmth of the water and sand between my toes. It was some years later that God revealed to me, “My child, I kept Peter from drowning while walking on the waters, and I did the same for you.” All you have to do is keep your focus on me.
I’m not afraid of the water anymore. I realize that God loves me and only wants my total attention.
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I like the message in your well-written story. It reminds me of Proverbs 4:25, "Let your eyes look directly ahead. And let your gaze be fixed straight ahead of you." And in Proverbs 4:27,we are warned, "Do not turn to the right and to the left. Turn your foot from evil." May we all pray that we will focus on God always even with so many distractions around us. Keep on using your amazing talent in writing for the glory of God! Blessings, Gloria
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