Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Canal

I dipped my feet into the cool water of the kiddy pool. The ripples rolled across the surface as I lifted my toes up and down. My older sister and her boyfriend sat behind me on the front porch, smooching. Gag.

Not only was the heat from the July sun making me sick, but the sound of lips smacking together wasn’t something a twelve year old wanted to hear. My six year old little brother, Bubba, ran out of the front door with the neighbor kids. Silently tagging along behind him was my two year old sister, Bailey.

“Hey Lace,” asked Bubba. “Is it okay if we go over to the Talbot’s?”

“Sure, just don’t be too long. Mom and Dad should be home soon.”

Our parents were at a funeral, my dad’s friend, who had been killed in a car accident. They had told us that we could go out for a burger when they got back, and to us kids’ fast food was awesome!

Bubba and his friends took off across the canal to the Talbot’s place. I leaned forward and hugged my knees with one arm to keep my balance while I drug my fingers across the water. I closed my eyes and enjoyed the feeling of the sun’s heat on my face. It felt nice to be back from girls camp. A weekend of passing off knots, C.P.R., and crafts were enough to do me in for the rest of the summer.

A few moments later, the Talbot kids, Kolby and Chantel, were on the bridge of the canal with Bubba. Chantel came up to me. “Did Bailey come back over here?”

“No. Why isn’t she with you?” I stood up and looked around. “Did you check over at your place? She followed you over.”

Bubba yelled to me, “Hey, someone’s in the canal.”

“It looks like a Sixth Grader,” added Kolby.

I’d just been in Sixth Grade and thought I’d probably know who was swimming next to my house; hoping deep down it was'nt a cute boy. (My hair wasn't done). With Chantel by my side, I made my way with an ever so cool sway to my walk up to the bridge.

“Look,” said Bubba, pointing to a blue object floating in the water. “Right there, see them floating?”

A few yards down the bank, a little arm rose out of the water and sunk back under. My heart jumped into my throat. “It’s Bailey!” I yelled and readied myself to jump in.

A quiet voice spoke in my ear, “Don’t jump in yet. Run to get her.” My bare feet flew over the weeded ditch bank until I reached to spot I’d seen my baby sister. I heard a large slash behind me and looked back to see my older sister’s boyfriend had jumped in to get her, but he was clear back at the bridge. I turned my attention back to the water in front of me. A few feet a head, Bailey’s tiny face bobbed up to the surface and went back down. I jumped in the water and grabbed her, lifting her up in front of me.

Bailey’s body was cold, limp, and lifeless. I looked into her eyes and nothing was there. Her happy glow of life was gone. I shook her and screamed, “No! Bailey, no! You can’t do this! You can’t die. NO!”

A tiny drop of water rolled out of her mouth and something clicked in my head. I can save her. I know this.

I listened for her breathe, nothing. Placed my ear to her chest. A faint flutter, if that. I laid her on the bank and began chest compressions. Each time I pressed down, water flowed out of her mouth. This couldn’t be happening.

After a few seconds, Bailey coughed. I turned her to her side. At this point, my parents had arrived home and heard hysterical screaming. Some strange voice yelled, “Where’s Bailey? Where is she?” It was my dad. His voice unfamiliar in that tone. He never sounded paniced.

“I’ve got her. Over here. She’s breathing now.” I shouted back. I looked up as my dad hurdled the four foot fence and run toward me. He scooped Bailey up and took off toward the van. He and my mom zoomed off to the hospital.

Still in the waist high water, everything went silent. The only sounds were the sobs of my brother and his friends. Shock of what had taken place settled in. I covered my hands over my face and wept. Slowly, a hand was placed on my shoulder.

“You did good, Laci.” I looked up to see my sister’s boyfriend. He helped me out of the water and into the house. My sister wrapped me in a blanket and cried along with me.

We waited by the phone what seemed for hours. Finally, my dad called letting us know Bailey was alright and they would be home later.

This really happened and I still have nightmares. With summer on its way, everyone be aware of water safety. Nobody needs to go though this.

News clippings of the event.
 Below is Bubba, Me holding Bailey, Chantel, and Kolby.
 This is Bailey now. 16 years later, I'm still glad she made it.


Raree said...

I was aware of this before, but it was great to get all of the story. Totally scary - and totally validates first aid training, doesn't it. :)

Jensenz said...

Oh my heck Laci...that is horrible! I had never heard that story before! I am so glad you were able to sace scary!

Vicki said...

I never Knew This!! So awesome to save her life! So Cool!