Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Lifeguard (11/09/06)
TITLE: Her Life Guard
By Marita Vandertogt
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Mikala was drawn to the glow of the moonlight on the dark water. Its ghostly cylinder face reflecting on the surface of the pool, trapped against the liquid black.
Mikala felt like that a lot of the time. Trapped somehow in the black, held in a place she didn’t want to be, but was forced to, because of what life did to her. Tonight, the glow of the moon seemed particularly ominous, as if it understood her intention, and by its silence, condoned the thoughts in her head.
She stepped across the cement slabs that surrounded the pool, still warm from the afternoon sun, and seated herself on the edge. Mikala was afraid of water, especially at night, making it more threatening somehow. She just wanted to slip in now, and let it hide her away, disappearing with the black when the sun came up in the morning. She took the towel she had draped around her waist and undid it, lowering herself into the deep end. Mikala couldn’t swim. She never tried to swim. As she lowered herself in, she felt her body slide down down down, toward the bottom of the pool, the black water surrounding her, its softness almost welcome now. And waited to drown. Waited for the water to take hold, the moon to keep her secret in the night air.
On the way down, pictures started to flash in her head. Pictures of Brent and the woman she saw him with. The woman people tried to tell her about, discreetly, bringing her up in conversation from time to time. Mikala wouldn’t listen. But now she was forced to. Brent had left a note. He wouldn’t be coming home, not for awhile anyway. Just like that. No warning. No nothing.
She felt her lungs start to hurt as the water pushed against her face. A vision of their wedding, his eyes, the way he looked at her when he said I do, and put the ring on her finger. He was her lifeguard. He was the one who protected her, took care of her. And now he was gone. These last few months were hard on Mikala. She was forced to play the role of the deserted wife, the betrayed. And she couldn’t do it any more.
Brent wasn’t all to blame. She knew that. Mikala felt pangs of guilt in the pit of her stomach as the water pushed against her skin.. She expected too much from him. She made him an idol in her own eyes. Nobody could live up that as he slowly, but daily, started to take the place God should have been in her life.
God. The vision changed, to a young woman, in a different circumstance, surrounded by water. The day she was baptized flashed before her eyes. The pictures coming faster as the pain continued in her lungs. She remembered the feeling now, the peace that followed when she surfaced, the day she dedicated her life publicly to the God who still wanted to be her lifeguard.
With one swift pull of her arms, Mikala pushed against the water, trying to claw her way to the top again. To the life giving air. All of a sudden, whether by the shock of her actions, or the help of her God, she realized she didn’t want to die.
The water gave way under her, like quicksand, but she continued to struggle. Now the face of the moon was moving towards her own as she came closer to the top, and with one giant splash forward, hit the surface.
Mikala took a deep breath, then more as she sputtered and coughed the water from her lungs.
She knew what she had to do. She had to transfer lifeguards, from Brent, to the Lord she dedicated her life to even before she met him.
Mikala pulled herself up onto the side of the pool and wrapped the towel around her. She looked up at the sky, at the face of the moon now, strangely set free from the water and dancing in the blue black sky.
Well, Mikala thought. It would still be a rough journey, but she knew now the way out of the water of her depression.
She moved back across the cement slabs and walked toward the house, her steps a little lighter, lit up, of course, by the glow of the moon.
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