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I remember when I was a child I almost drowned. It was a cloudy day in early spring when the flowers were just starting to bloom. I was twelve years old and I shouldn’t have been standing on the slippery dock. But I liked watching the water on the lake. It had such a peaceful feeling to me. I would imagine myself swimming like a dolphin through the water, or a mermaid. The water streaming past my skin and an enchantment of underwater worlds seemed glorious to me. Maybe I was too old for such fantasies, but at the time I would have given anything to swim away and be part of something better. There was something mystical about the lake and nothing special about my life.

It was cold that day. It had been raining for months. But as I stood there, I could see the spring sun trying to poke its head out from behind the clouds. There was a strong breeze that kept blowing the long strands of my dark-blonde hair into my mouth. But I didn’t mind. The wind only made the lake seem more magical.

Something had drawn my attention to the end of the dock. I heard splashing and when I looked I could see rings where the water had been disturbed. The light shined against the water but when I peered into it I could see a dark shadow underneath the surface. I walked to the very end and suddenly I slipped and went crashing into the water. I felt shock at the rush of coldness over my body. I didn’t have time to think about what had happened. There was no real thought, just survive.

I thrashed my arms through the water to stay afloat but my head kept going under. I gasped for air each time my head bobbed above the surface. I tried to scream for help but I don’t know if any words came out of my mouth as I struggled to get enough air and gurgled on water. The water was piercing cold like knives stabbing inside my whole body. All I could hear was the sound of water splashing as I struggled and the sound of my muffled voice trying to scream. I don’t know how long it lasted. It felt like forever but at the same time, everything had happened so quickly. I struggled and fought for life but I couldn’t stay afloat.

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