I took a deep breath and jumped. For a few seconds I was flying. I could feel the air pushing me back up, but gravity was stronger. I sucked in a big breath and prepared myself.
My feet slapped the water first. Less than a second later the rest of my body submerged. I wished I'd plugged my nose because water got in and I swallowed some. I fought the urge to open my mouth and rid my lungs of the liquid, but i knew only more water would get in.
I watched my feet go farther and farther down through the bubbles. Then I slowly stopped going down. I let myself float for a bit, even though my lungs burned. I felt peaceful, calm, when I was underwater.
Finally, I started to kick my legs, propelling me upward. I felt the blood pounding in my ears as I neared the surface. I was a few more kicks away from sweet, fresh air.
Then the pressure in my lungs became too great. My mouth opened and I sucked in what felt like a gallon of water. I stopped swimming upward, even though I was taught to keep swimming when I suck in water. But I couldn't. My lungs burned, my mind panicked and I could feel my body shutting down. But I kept pushing, although I wasn't sure if I was pushing up.
"She's been down there a long time," said Katrina.
Dex nodded, making his black hair sway. "I think this is the longest she's ever been under."
Katrina bit her lip. "You don't think she'd drowning or something, do you?"
Dex stared at Katrina, a smug look on his face. "This is Aida we're talking about. You know, captain of the swim team, head lifeguard at the pool. And she's swam in this lake before." He paused and looked back at the lake. "Why are you worrying?"
"I guess I'm just paranoid," said Katrina absently. They went back to watching the lake in silence.
I couldn't move, couldn't breathe, couldn't think. I'd stopped pushing a while ago and just let myself float. I was too exhausted to do anything else. I knew i must be pretty close to the surface, but . . .
My thought trailed off. I couldn't think of an explanation besides being tired.
"Aida . . ." I heard a weak call from above me.
"Help," I said, but it was muffled by the water. Some bubbles, my last bits of air, escaped my mouth.
And then there was only blackness. No more burning lungs, no more dizzying thoughts. Just blackness.
"Dex!" yelled Katrina as she clutched his arm. "I saw bubbles!"
Dex yanked his arm from Katrina's iron grip. "Yeah, I saw them, too."
They watched the lake again until they saw something bob up to the surface. It ahd to be Aida, but she wasn't moving. She just floated there, facedown in the murky lake water.
"Dex . . ." started Katrina.
But he was already running to the lake, screamng, "Aida! Hold on, Aida!"
Dex dove in, not caring that he still had his t-shirt on. He swam fiercly until he reached what had to be Aida. He hauled her back to shore where Katrina stood crying.
"Please tell me she's okay," she said, her voice cracking.
But Dex wasn't listening. He was already giving Aida CPR. Katrina called for paramedics. Dex continued CPR. Nothing changed. After five minutes of watching Dex push on Aida's chest, then breathing into her mouth, then starting again, Katrina collapsed.
She hugged her knees on the damp grass, sobbing, "She's dead, she's dead, she's dead. Aida's dead! She's dead . . ."