Conditions of Use
The Pearl River. In some places quiet, calm, peaceful. In others, swirling, deep, dangerous, deadly.
Grandpa used to tell us that some of the Greatest swimmers of Mississippi drowned in this river. The swimmers faced a few challenges while swimming here: the currants were strong, there were many black abysses known as sinkholes, over 10 feet deep. They would never get out of these sinkholes.
I used to think these were just tales to keep us kids out of the water unless and adult was watching us. But then, my brother almost died. Or so I thought.
I was in the river with my grandfather, re-baiting the trot-lines. My brother, Hayden, was on the bank of the river looking at rocks and occasionally jumping into the river if it got too hot.
Hayden swam over to us, too short at the time to touch the bottom of the river.
"Madie, I want to go back to the camp," he whined.
"Just wait. We're almost finished." I replied.
"No... NOW!" he complained.
"Go away Hayden," I yelled at him.
I watched him swim back to the bank without a second thought. I just went back to putting bait on the hooks.
I heard a familiar bark coming from the direction of the trail, declaring my aunt's arrival. Annie, my Aunt Katie's dog followed her everywhere. My slightly overweight cousin Emily was huffing and puffing not too far behind Katie.
"Hey!" she screamed happily.
BARK! Annie cried almost just as happy.
"Hi Katie," I said. "Wanna help us bait the trot-lines?"
"Sure," she replied." Emily, go play with Hayden."
Emily happily splashed over to where Hayden was. I could see his head floating above the water line.
I went back to baiting my hooks. A few minutes later, Emily came over to me. I started talking to her as I worked not really paying attention to anything else. When I looked up again, something was missing from the landscape. It took me a minute to figure out what. Hayden. He was nowhere to be seen.
A sheer panic hit me like a brick wall. Did't grandpa say that some of the best swimmers died in the river? Well, Hayden was definitely not the best swimmer and he was only seven.
" Emily, where is Hayden?" I asked already freaking out.
"I don't know. the last time I saw him, he was underwater."
Oh no, this cannot be happening. He couldn't have drowned. He just could't. He really that bad of a swimmer. Okay... he learned when he was seven but he still wasn't that bad.
"Madie, I'm sure he just went up the hill to see Julian." she said trying to reassure me. Well, too bad, it wasn't working.
I began running as fast as I could. Uphill. A half -mile. This doesn't really sound that bad b ut when you are crying, tripping over your own feet and you think your brother is dead, yeah, it feels like an eternity.
I ran over the final hill and into the little trailer were we all slept. And there was Hayden, soaking wet, eating ice cream with Julian. Like Emily told me. She was right. Hayden was fine! A puff of breath came out of me. A breath of relief. I ran and hugged him as tightly as I could.
"Why the heck are you crying?" he asked me.
"Because I thought you drowned."
"You're stupid." He smirked.
I just couldn't help laughing. Any other time I would have slapped him across the face.
I learned an important lesson that day: Never make the last thing you say to someone negative or mean. The last thing I said to him was go away, and that would have stayed with me for the rest of my life.
Article posted October 23, 2011 at 03:48 PM •
comment • Reads 195
Return to Blog List
Add a Comment
Latest 10 Comments: