I want to share a story with everyone. The chain of events that unfold changed my life. I thought maybe you'd like to hear it.
On a Sunday one balmy morning in 2001, my best friend and I were swimming in our neighborhood community pool. The night before we had stayed awake, trying to cram as much time together as we could. So at 8 am we went to work on the new day. Heather and I were as prepared as two Tween girls could be. Stereo, cds, & sun tan lotion.
An hour went by, peacefully as we swam and watched the two women who were also there talk. We were taking turns diving into the deeper part of the pool. As I wadded to the shallows I heard a splash and thought to myself, 'Ok, Heather just went it, my turn.' Not even giving it another thought I pulled myself out of the water and started to walk the edge of the water. One of the woman shouted to me, "Hey, your friends under there," she then pointed to the bottom. I thoughts she was playing dead man, where one of us would allow ourselves to sink to the bottom and pretend to be a 'dead man.' Then the other would swim down and pull them up. So I dived. Her limbs were limp and I grabbed her under the arms and pulled her to the surface. What I say then would be seared into my mind. Heather's glasses were tangled in her blond hair, and her face was slack and a sicking color of blue. "OH MY GOD SHE'S NOT BREATHING!" I screamed. Using everying I had I swam us to the edge of the pool and pulled her out. I shouted at the women sitting down to go call and get help, I didn't bother to look at them as I pushed Heather's body over the side and climbed out. She wasn't moving as I dragged her a little father away from the edge and started CPR. She would groan every time I pumped on her chest. I can remember crying and begging her not to die. Finally some adults got thier with an ambulance. As fast as I could I ran to Heather's house to get her dad Mitch, and then my mom who was a nurse. She was breathing when we got back five minutes later. Tears poured down my cheecks as I gathered our stuff up and put it in the trunk of my car. I was going to get in and go home to wait for news when one of the EMT's grabbed my arm.
"She's asking for you. Try and keep her calm."
My mom heard and told me to go. I scrambled into the back of the Ambulance and gripped Heathers hand. I lifted the oxygen mask off her face just as she threw up into a bucket. The ride to the hospital was a cold and silent one. All I could do was hold her hand and smooth her hair away from her face as we drove. I never felt the chill of the hospital, even though I was wearing a soaked bikini. The emergency room was almost empty except one woman who was waiting on news about her husband who had been in a car accident. My mom didn't come to get me for several hours, so a woman I didn't even know wrapped her arms around me and crooned comferting words. Finally, I went in to see Heather.
She looked better and very pink. I smiled and sat in the chair next to the bed.
"How are you feeling?" I asked.
"Better, where is Byron?"
I crinkled my forhead in confusion. Byron was her 10 boy neighboor who we all played with when we could.
"He's at home I think."
Heather shook her head at me,
"No, he's here. He was sitting right next to you in the ambulance, smiling at me. He was also sitting next to me when I went in...wasn't he?"
I shook my head, pursing my lips. Byron was never there. We hadn't seen him in a week.
Heather and I never could figure out why she say Byron that day. As it turned out, Heather suffered from Seizures which could be triggered from large amounts of stress or mental/physical strain. I think it was her guardian angel. This event made Heather and I closer than ever.