Not Waving but Drowning

By Ashlee Zlotnick

Being a life guard isn’t easy. I mean not only are you are responsible for a lot of lives but you also have to be alert all the time. Hi my name is Jess and I am a life guard at one of the busiest beaches is Durban. I have been working here for about 6 months now and I love every moment of it.

Being a life guard has its pro’s and con’s but the best thing is that every girl wants to date me. Hey it’s a rough job but someone has to do it. Everywhere I go I hear, “Hey Jess, here is my number call me.” Or, “Oh my Gosh, it’s Jess, he is so attractive!” Yup the girls love me and I thought it was amazing until that awful day…

I got up one morning the same as I do every day.” Good morning Jess. How did you sleep?” says my mom, “Hey mom, I slept like an angel.” I got dressed and went to work. I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach as if something was wrong.” Jess! You late as usual.” My boss Molly doesn’t like me that much. I ran to the life guard station, put my shades on and sat down. A lot of people wave at me, so I waved back. The day went by slowly and it was now lunch time. More people come to the beach about now so we are more alert at this time of the day. The sun was reflecting on the choppy sea, it was difficult to see the people in the crystal blue sea when the sun is in your eyes. I saw a glimpse of a hand in the air. I thought she was waving at me so I waved back. For some obscure reason she was still waving. “ Jess, she is not waving, she is drowning! Go save her.” When Molly said that I froze. I could hear my heart beat in my ears. Molly hit me and ran to save the girl. I jumped into the water. It was so cold and she seemed so far away from me. I kept on thinking about how much time I have wasted all because I thought she was waving at me. The team go to her and brought her back ashore. I looked at her face and body. She was blue and hypothermic. She looked so innocent and helpless. We did everything we could but we could not save her.

She was only 14 years old and because of me she is now dead. I gave Molly my badge without saying a word. I walked away and never looked back. Ever since that awful day I have never been anywhere near a beach. I keep playing that day over and over in my head and then I remember why I have not been in water for 3 years.

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