Subcutaneous Magazine Issue 1 - Page 16

The Drowning Sound interested look on his face as though someone were showing him a science experiment. Dad liked science. The water had begun to reach my ears. I could hear by Ashley O’Melia nothing but its gurgle as it enveloped me. If my family had The water was icy as it hit my back. My body seemed been screaming, calling for someone to save their little girl, I wouldn’t have been able to hear them. But they were sito freeze instantly, my legs and arms stiff and my toes and lent anyway, and all I was left with was the noise of my own fingers spread wide with fear. I stopped breathing from the moment I hit the water. My family was there, watching from blood rushing through my veins. I didn’t like the drowning the bank, their feet planted solidly on the ground. I couldn’t sound. I heard it every night, but I couldn’t get used to it. It tear my eyes from them as I sank into the water. I could see thrummed in my ears and pounded in my blood. It blotted the pale blue Colorado sky behind them, a few wisps of white out all sounds of life, beating a tattoo in time to my doom. It was the sound of the water taking me, relentlessly, bubbling clouds twirling through it. I fell slowly, so slowly that I had and whooshing, talking to itself about the small life that betime for regrets. I told my mother I had a bad feeling about leaving the longed to it now. The water picked up its pace, washing over the top of house that day. But I couldn’t quite explain why or what it re- ally felt like, so she had blown me off with one of her typical- my body and pushing it ever downward. It was a blessing, ly dismissive shrugs. She was always busy, and that morning really, but it was hard to see it that way. The image of my inert family on the bank blurred and cleared as the water she had been too busy to listen to a little girl’s premonitions about an outing on what seemed to be a beautiful day. “We’ll smoothed over, a heavy shield of glass. I had never opened my eyes underwater before, so I couldn’t tell you why I did have fun,” she’d said. I wondered if she was having fun now it then. To see my loved ones as they refused to save me, as she stood on the bank, watching me. passive and silent? To watch the tall grass on the shore wave The water crept over me, numbing my skin and my goodbye in the wind, offering the tiniest of farewells that I mind with its chill. Why did it have to happen like this, millimeter by millimeter? If I had to go, couldn’t it be quick? wasn’t likely to get anywhere else? To see the bits of flotsam that decorated the surface of the pond as it closed over me, Didn’t I deserve that? Or at the very least, couldn’t I have sealing me in? To see it all so clearly, only then to see it fade gone some other way than by water? to black? My sister looked smug from up above, her mouth twisted in a satisfied sneer. She was the one who had played too rough, but it had been my idea to play by the water. And so whose fault was it? That was the debate we had never settled, the argument neither of us could win. I guessed she had won this time, finally rid of the burden of her little sister and able to roam the school playground without me. No longer would people have to tell her that I looked just like her (even though I didn’t). No longer would she have to ride the school bus with her obnoxious little sibling tagging along. The water inched its way up my neck. I couldn’t turn away from my family above me. My head was frozen in place, forcing me to look at the people I loved so much and yet who didn’t love me enough to help me. I couldn’t cry out to them or reach towards them. How ironic that I loved bath time so much, but I couldn’t stand being in water that was outside the tub. I loved the bath so much that I even drank bubble soap once. My parents had stayed up with me all night while I barfed bubbles, and I had survived that... But I wouldn’t this time. Dad looked so calm. He was like that. In a crisis, he was the voice of reason. He didn’t yell or scream unless he had cause to, and he clearly didn’t have cause to now. When he did get angry, he was the most terrifying thing on the planet. I wondered, since I had the time, why he wasn’t saving me. That was what dads were for, wasn’t it? There were other times when he had saved me, I knew there were, but I couldn’t remember them. This wasn’t one of them. He stood with his hands clasped behind his back, leaning over the water as he watched his youngest child drown, a calm but