Something I read today reminded me of a scene from my early adulthood in Africa.
It was a summer's day. It may have been spring too, as the Transvaal had this way of paying no mind to a casual saunter into summer. It was more like, "Hey, I'm done with winter. Come on in summer." We were picinicking with friends on the edge of a body of water. I want to say it was a river, but I realise that that is just my romantic notion, and it was probably a dam of some description.
My boys were babies—the youngest just walking.
The water's edge was only a few metres away from where we had spread a blanket, and I felt safe in the notion that the water at the lip was no more than a couple of inches deep.
We chatted, the kids romped about, we picnicked.
Then, we heard a "kersplunk." My baby had toddled down to the water and fallen in, head first. I ran over—quickly. I was an incredibly young mother and held none of the bravado I often associate with youth of that age. Nervy. A gazelle.
As I approached, I noticed he was lying face down in the mud and water. His face was fully submerged, but his chubby nappy-ed bottom was sticking out above the surface.
The single thought that ran through my head, well, besides the fact that I needed to get to him fast was, "Why doesn't he just stand up?" That brings me to the snippet I just read that brought this scene to the fore: "You don’t drown by falling in the water. You drown by staying there." And, while this line reminds me of that scene, it does not relate to that little boy lying face down in the water. It relates to this woman, this not-quite-as-nervous gazelle, who has learned to stand up a few times from the muddy "depths" of a few inches of water.
Had I drowned in any one of the puddles of my life, they would have become my watery grave. And, while face-down in them, they were.
But, the question would have always remained: Lieselle, why didn't you just stand up? ~ excerpt Message to My Girl. #novel