Suddenly and shockingly, I was on my hands and knees on the blunt buffalo grass, feeling the coarse rough edges under my palms and coughing the water out of my body. The air burned as I sucked it into my lungs and coughed the water out. He begged me “Don’t tell! Don’t tell on me,” as the younger children stood by in wide-eyed shock.
I could hear the voice of his mother on the balcony, telling my mother how she worried about her son. How he had been suspended from school and could soon be expelled.
It had taken so short a time to nearly die that they had not even noticed.
Air and fury fueled my muscles. I uncoiled like a sprinter leaving the starting blocks and thundered up the stairs to the woman who had never failed to defend me – to the woman who had faced down a whole community when I had been made a pariah.
“He nearly killed me! He held my head under the water until the bubbles stopped,” I said.
Image: Swimming pool by Bad-girl, DeviantArt
“Don’t be ridiculous, Anne Marie. Go downstairs and play nicely.”
“I told you to go downstairs and play nicely.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I stood rooted to the spot for what seemed like eternity. My mother glared at me. I turned, feet dragging.
He was waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs.
“You’re safe. They don’t believe me.”
I went back and sat in the pool. Betrayed and nearly dead.