Adrift

Yesterday I took my air mattress down to Lake Michigan and laid out on the water. The waves were lightly choppy. The sun cascaded across my body as it peeked out between the clouds. The sea gulls sang me a private lullaby. So, of course, I fell asleep.

I woke up and it was night. I felt kind of disoriented as I often do when waking up from a nap. I sat up and looked around and couldn’t see land. I felt dizzy. My mouth was dried out. I swirled a little water in my mouth. I figured I couldn’t have drifted too far since the waves were light. I thought about paddling to help figure out my location, but I had no idea which direction to go.

An hour passed. The cold water was making my legs numb. I was shivering. I felt nauseous. It seemed to me like the air mattress was losing air. My life started flashing before my eyes.

I remembered when I was eight and my family got a pet bear. His name was Issac. A local circus had gone under and was selling everything and we got him for pretty cheap. He became one of the family. I took Issac for walks everyday. I used to get hassled by a bully named Mark. I’ll never forget the look on Mark’s face when he was waiting at the play ground to mug me and he saw Issac. I was certain that for a couple of seconds his heart had stopped.

I reminisced about the first girl I went steady with. Her name was Letti. She was a foreign exchange student from Latvia. She spoke very little English. I used to stand next to her in the lunch line. She would let my arm slightly and briefly rub up against her arm.

I thought about the time I got locked by accident in an airplane bathroom on a flight from Chicago to the Philippines. The flight attendants tried to dismantle the door but they couldn’t force it open. I was stuck in the bathroom the whole 12 hour flight. The hardest part for me was when people knocked on the door and asked how much longer I was going to be in there.

I remembered when I was 12 and ran away from home. I was tired of my parents’ strict ways and I figured this would bring some changes from their end. I called my parents three days later. I figured they would be worried and sad. They said they were excited for me that I felt comfortable enough to go out on my own. I was left with no choice but to get my own apartment. It was five blocks away from my parents’ home. I went to their place every Saturday to do laundry.

The flood of memories and low blood sugar left me disenchanted. I figured the air mattress would soon go flat and I would drown. I was without hope. I figured why extend the misery. I jumped into the water. I touched bottom. The water was to my chest. I was stunned. I waded thirty feet and reached the shore.

There was my towel, waiting for me on the sand. I hadn’t gone anywhere. The darkness and resulting diminished vision had brought about the confusion.

I looked around to make sure no one had noticed.

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