Drown the Boy

You can open your eyes under water.  That’s how I could see the black cloak of seaweed circling my head.  But I knew you couldn’t breathe under water.  So when someone pushes your head down into the sea, you have to hold your breath or you will die.  And soon, a ringing begins in your ears and you forget that you could smell cotton candy and doughnuts when you first arrived on the beach.  You forget the excitement of running into the ocean waves. And thoughts of building mighty sandcastles and making a moat and filling it with the frothing sea.

I watched the seaweed circle one more time and then my sister let me up to breathe. I only took one breath before she shrieked with her girlish delight and held my head under that huge wave. My big sister loved the fun of playing with me in the sea. So much more fun than the terrible darkness of the house.

If my twin sister was there in the water, she could have screamed for the adults to come and save me. But she had that broken piece of glass stuck in her foot. It wasn’t her fault that someone left broken glass on the beach.  Dad said it was probably from a cider bottle because no one drinks wine on the beach and it didn’t look like the shape of glass from a beer bottle. Yes, definitely a cider bottle.

And when my big sister finally let me go, I ran to the grown-ups and told them that you can see under water but you cannot breathe and if you do, you will die from drowning. And they laughed and sang, “Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside. I do like to be beside the sea.”

They drank their beer and sherry and danced together while the massive ocean roared and the black seaweed silently wished for me to come back and play. Come back and stay forever.


  1. A vivid vignette. I was holding my breath as I read.

  2. Thought this was a really powerful piece in its matter-of-fact recounting of the events. It is a very touching vignette of the little boy trying to tell his parents he nearly drowned because of his sister without saying that and having them laughing with their beers.

    Hope to read more pieces!

    • You know I love hearing from you! Hopefully, one day the book will be published. The story is told in the same way, through the eyes of the child. Children see things without complications. John

      • I do hope to be reading your book sometime. Told through the eyes of a child seems like a great idea. The simple, direct style seems to work for you. Good luck.

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