Now that I’m staring at mortality straight in the eyes, now that I am beginning to realize I will not be here forever and my expiration date comes sooner than I have expected, I remember you. I remember the time you saved me from drowning. Twice. The first time was when my so-called cousin Rosana (which I never knew existed and have met for the first time) tried to drown me because of the ring you gave me. Remember the ring? The one you fashioned from copper especially for me? The same ring you have thrown away in the sea for safekeeping and promised the waves will deliver it back right at my feet when the time comes. Unknowingly, that must be the reason why I spent so much time on the breakwater when I was growing up, just staring at the sea. But you lied. The ring is still out there lost.
The second time you saved my life was a major, major case. I almost died. I didn’t know anymore why I decided to follow my eldest sister out in the sea that day. I saw her having a good time with a fella and they seemed to be walking in the water. I thought the water was not deep. I forget they could swim and I cannot. And before I know what was happening, I found myself sinking. I had no idea that drowning feels like that. As if you’re spiraling endlessly down a very dark abyss. I remember calling my father, then nothing.
The next thing I knew I was laying on the sand and you gently slapping my face telling me to wake up, as if drowning was a funny joke. But that’s you. Everything is a joke to you. Maybe it’s your way of coping with the circumstances that we were in. I will not go into detail with that. There are certain things that better left buried and forgotten. I’m sure you understand what I mean.
You said you saw me disappeared from the surface and grabbed a big zinc basin which is normally meant for transporting fish and rowed as fast as you could where you saw me vanished. You had to search for me down there for seemed like ages you said before finding me at the bottom unconscious. For a moment there you were scared, you told me. I don’t believe it. You scared, a seasoned Huckleberry Finn… no way! You even teased me about it afterwards, saying you’re my first kiss. In my book it doesn’t count.
Anyway, I never properly thank you for saving my life twice. In fact, I never talk about it. Not even to you my best friend. Perhaps I was too young to understand it all. I was barely eight years old. You were twelve.
I don’t know where you are now. Fate separated us oceans and continents apart. I wonder what happened to you and what you become. The last time I saw you I was aboard a moving bus. My family decided to move again. You were running alongside the vehicle calling my name. You handed me something through the window before you let go. It was another of your creation. A copper pin name. My name. I lost it in the bus. I must have fallen sleep. Sorry about that.
Once again, wherever you are thank you. If you didn’t save me, I would not have this rich and multi-coloured existence. I hope we see each other again so I can say this to you face to face. M. you’re one of the few people I didn’t regret I’ve met.