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Sunday 15 December 2013


It started out innocently enough.  We had just finished high school so on a hot summer day, I went with a group of five friends to a park just outside St. John's.  We decided to go for the day, planning to swim, have a lunch and sun bathe on the shore.

The pond had a rocky, partially sandy shoreline and some of us stretched out on the beach to soak up the rays, while I and a few others took to the water.  Eventually there were just two of us left in the water.  I was a good swimmer, having spent so much time in the water when I was young.  Kevin couldn't swim at all, which I didn't know at the time.  

The bottom of this pond was uneven.  While you could stand up in one place, one step could take you in the deep, seemingly bottomless pond. The people on the beach weren't paying any attention to the two of us in the water.  I was swimming around, talking to Kevin; he was standing up, occasionally trying to swim a few feet and standing up again.  However, the bottom dropped away and when he tried to stand, he couldn't.  He went underwater.  

When I noticed what was going on, Kevin was coming up the first time, with a look of panic on his face.  At first, I thought he was kidding around, like he often did about any number of things.  When he went down for the second time I knew he was serious.  The next few minutes seemed like forever, as I tired to grab for Kevin.  When I got a hold on him, he seemed to have Herculean strength.  He was dragging me under with him.  Swallowing water myself now, I kicked him hard. Luckily I got away, and looked back as he went under again, face in utter panic, looking at me as he disappeared under water again.

Swimming in towards shore just a few feet and catching my breath, I started shouting for help.  Everyone on the beach was oblivious to what was going on in the water. I screamed this time and turned around to see Kevin come up again. Our friends thought we were kidding them.  I could stand up at this point, and feet firmly planted, reached for Kevin as he started another downward plunge.  I grabbed his arm and yanked him towards me and he got his feet under him.  He surfaced and I helped him get to shore.  Our friends finally realized that we were serious.  

The amount of water that came out of Kevin that day was incredible.  I don't think he could have lasted much longer.  He and I could have drowned very easily while our friends were oblivious to the problem or not taking us seriously.  

Lesson learned!

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