Pink Swim Shoes

Then I saw her. A young girl face down in ankle deep water. As I ran towards her, I screamed, “Save the girl.” I reached her first and rolled her onto her back. Her hair stuck in long strings across her face. She wasn’t breathing.

A heavy force slammed into me from the left. Then a wave knocked me away from the her into knee deep water. My glasses were missing; my long ponytail had come loose and wet hair clung to my face and neck. The sunlight blinded me and the ocean became undulating smears of blue and white. The sunlight reflected off the water near me, hurting my eyes. I frantically felt around for my eyeglasses.

“Abby, baby! Oh, God!” A woman wailed as she rocked back and forth with the girl.

“Donna, I know CPR!” A man scooped the girl up from her and moved farther up the beach from us. Gasps and cries from the adults and children followed the man. A distant wail of a siren became louder.

I continued feel the sandy bottom in search of my glasses. My soaked shirt and pants stuck to me, twisting around my limbs and hindering my movements. Henry had returned and dropped the stick near me. He stayed by my side, but watched and whined at the commotion several yards away from us. The lights from the emergency vehicle pulsated in blurs of blue.

A cough and sputter made me stop for a moment. I strained to hear, hoping that the young girl was breathing. Then I heard sighs of relief from the adults.

“Let’s load her up,” said a man.

“Is she going to be okay?” asked a child.

“She’s breathing. The doctors will check her out,” said a woman.

She’s breathing, I thought to myself. Thank God.

Henry nudged me and whined. “I know, but we have to find my glasses.” I felt around for them. There was a spare pair at home, but these were my favorite. If I didn’t find them, Henry would guide me home. I crawled around hands and knees style searching for my glasses for what seemed like an eternity. I pulled two pieces from the water. One ear piece was broken off and the other missing, but the lenses were still intact.

I trudged through the dry sand in my heavy, wet clothes and I found a dry spot on my shirt to wipe off the lenses. I held them up with one hand and could see the beach was empty.

As we walked towards home, a bit of bright pink caught my eye. A pair of little girl’s swim shoes hung on the fence waiting for their owner to return and claim them. Not knowing if they were little Abby’s or someone else’s, I left them in hopes the rightful owner would come back. Now, anytime I see a pair of pink girl’s shoes, I wonder how Abby is doing.

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