By YC Takahashi
I hold my breath as my mother holds me under the water. This is not the first time we have visited Metro Beach. She has driven us here several times – each time she felt depressed or angry, unable to control her feelings.
I close my eyes as I don’t want to see my mother’s legs struggling as she tries to plant them firmly in the sand. I try to close my ears as well but I still hear her rehearsed speech. Perhaps the lack of oxygen is allowing me to slowly tune her out. Perhaps it’s the dingy water leaking into my eardrums. The chatter gets softer and softer as each second passes.
I dream of dancing, ice cream and laughter. None of these things exist in my reality.
As I drift further away from her punishment, I suddenly feel the sun shining warmly on my face. It’s time to breathe again. As I gasp for air, the lake water flows down my throat and I cough. She holds me, patting my back. She smells like sweat and desperation. My throat is raw as I catch my breath.
Mother is regretful and she promises we will never come back here. She tells me to forget what happened today. She will change. She will try to be happy again. I won’t hold my breath.