Open Water | Teen Ink

Open Water

May 3, 2008
By Anonymous

Fear is defined as an unpleasant feeling of anxiety or apprehension caused by the presence or anticipation of danger. Fear is the very thing that consumed me as a drifted downward. Down toward what seemed like a bottomless hole. Pressure built inside my head, my lung felt as though they would explode. I looked up in hopes of finding refuge however my hopes were shattered when I saw how small the boat seemed from where I was. All around me there was a silent darkness from which there was no escape.

The fear of open water was something I acquired as a young girl. It happened one summer while I was at my grandmother’s house. It was the beginning of the summer and the pool had just been opened. With nothing else to do, I watched filled with envy as my cousin drove around the patio in his new toy Tonka Trunk. I longed for a turn but was denied because of my grandmother was afraid I would get hurt due to my small size. So I sat in the hot summer sun and waited until lunch. When lunchtime came my cousin as well as the rest of my family went inside to eat. I was on my way in when I noticed the truck left unattended. I got into the drivers seat and turned the truck on. I sat deliberating whether I should go or not but finally decided it was worth the risk. I stepped hard on the gas and took off like a speeding train just leaving the station. My head and my body jerked back and my speed was increasing. The thrill was immense and I was completely exhilarated. However the exhilaration quickly turned to fear when I frantically looked for the break but realized that I had no control over the steering. At that very moment I looked up and noticed I was heading straight towards the open water of the pool. It was too late to stop and before I could react the two front tires were caught on the edge of the pool. The truck flipped over with me still in the driver’s seat. The last thing I can remember from that day is the cold hard plastic of the truck hitting me in the back of the head; then everything is blank.

My sister filled me in on what happened afterwards. She told me my grandmother was inside and watched the entire scene in horror. After I hit the water she rushed outside and jumped into the pool. She swam desperately towards the truck and me. My grandmother was able to jump into the pool and rescue me.

After that day I had a fear of the water however my fear is not something that surmounts me and prevents me from doing the things I love, it is just something that will always be present, always cautioning me.

Then in the summer of 2005, my family and I went on a cruise to Bermuda. I was extremely excited. As I packed the thoughts of the water crept into the back of my mind but my anticipation quickly eased them away. We had been sailing for a few days when we finally arrived. It was absolutely beautiful. And the sun glistened off the top of the water. The crystal clear waves crashed against the shore, making the water look warm and inviting.

Later that evening my father and I were exploring the cruise ship. We came across a concession stand that had advertisements set up. My father picked up a small pamphlet that was advertising scuba driving. As he unfolded it, there were pictures of shipwrecks and exotic fish. The idea of seeing these things in person was like a wild dream. He asked me if I would be interested in going with him, and without thinking I responded with an impulsive yes.

The reservations were made and my father and I were scheduled to go scuba driving the next day. I woke up early and got my things together. I put on a bathing suit and packed my sunscreen, waterproof camera, and a few other necessary items in a small bag. Later that morning a small car came and picked us up from where the ship was docked. We drove a long distance to a small-secluded beach. But when you looked out you could see that the small beach opened up into the large ocean

When we arrived at the beach and a small woman with a clipboard greeted us and asked each one of us a long series of questions. She then measured us and gave us heavy gear that we had to wear. She explained once we got into the water the equipment would weigh much less. We were taken to a swallow part of the beach; she gave us a lesson on how to use the equipment. She also taught us the process of getting water out of your mask while under the water and how to relieve the pressure in your ears as you floated downwards. She taught us how to breathe using the mask and how to check the amount of air you had left in your tank. Once the lesson was over and we had each performed these small yet vital tasks to her liking, the instructor took the small group of drivers to the boat. We left the safety of the small beach and were now deep into the dangerous waters of the ocean.

During the boat ride I attempted to calm my nerves by taking long deep breathes. A kind old man noticed what I was doing and asked me if it was my first time scuba diving, I replied with a timid yes that was barely above a whisper. He told me that he was an experienced driver, how he had gone on many excursions. He told me about the places he had gone and the things he had seen. He told me not to be nervous.

We arrived at our destination and one by one the other people descended in to the water. They made the drop seem quick and easy. It was my father’s turn to go and he jumped into the water. He had only gone down a few feet when he began to resurface. My mind was racing, what could possibly be wrong. When his head was above the surface of the choppy water he told me that it was too terrifying and that he could not do it. The instructor looked at me and asked me if I was willing to try. My first thought was to say no and stay inside the boat where it was safe. How ever I decided that I would not let my fears overcome me. I walked off the back of the boat into the cold unruly water. I began to go down.

Once my head was completely below the water everything disappeared. The sunlight was no longer on my face, and there were no sounds. I could no longer see the boat or my father. The pressure began to build and my head and lungs felt as though they were going to explode. I panicked. Then I suddenly remembered something the instructor had taught me. I suddenly alleviated the pressure in my ears and could now breathe. I looked around and saw the coral reef and the small, brightly colored fish swimming around. Now instead of fearing the dark silence I enjoyed it. I then noticed my father drifting down towards me. I felt safe. I took out my camera and began taking pictures of the scenery. I was proud I had finally completely overcome my fear of the water.

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