A Word or Two About Trust

drowning

When I was about five years old, some family friends took me and my three-year-old sister off my parent’s hands for an afternoon of fun, to frolic beside the pool at the hotel where they were staying. I recall that it was a beautiful, perfect, sunny day: the outdoor pool looked enormous to me but I expect that if I could see it today, I would discover it was really quite small. There was a wide set of stairs leading down into the shallow end and I spent long, pleasant minutes tentatively edging my way down to the floor of the pool. There were a number of other families there and, unable to swim myself, I watched the older kids diving off the board and swimming in the deep end with a great deal of longing.

Contrary to how they portray it in the movies, a drowning person is very quiet.

At some point, I made it to the floor of pool and, emboldened by the bigger kids just a few feet away, took a step out. It didn’t take me long to realise that I had made a mistake: the water came up to just under my eyes: I could see, but I could not breathe. There are moments in our lives that, no matter what our age, we remember with cinematic clarity. I recall looking up and seeing the nice lady who had brought me to the pool walking past on the deck, head up and gazing at something in the distance, perhaps eight feet away. I recall jumping up to take a breath, intending to call out to her, but there wasn’t time for me to utter a word before my mouth and my nose were under water again. I do not recall how many times I jumped; and then sank back under the water; desperate to make a sound, before it occurred to me that no one was going to help me.

I was five years old and I was on my own.

I have always been fairly resourceful, and I do wonder sometimes, if my resourcefulness was not born that day. It finally occurred to me that no one was going to save me, because no one knew I needed help. Somehow, I had become utterly invisible. Instead of jumping to breathe and trying to call out, I decided to use my energy to jump toward the edge of the pool. It took awhile, but I recall the relief I felt as the edge of the pool drew ever closer; as I realised that I might be able to save myself. I do not recall a thing after grasping the edge, but knowing me, I expect I burst into tears and then cried hysterically until they took me home.

I know they must have felt absolutely awful. I know it probably traumatised them even more than it traumatised me. I have never felt any anger toward these kind folks who just wanted to give my parents a break and enjoy the company of two little girls for the day.

But I realise, with hindsight, that trust has never come easily to me since that terrifying moment when I realised that I was on my own in that pool. Over fifty years later, and with a great many more hurtful and terrifying memories under my belt, it takes me a great deal of time to give my full, complete and utter trust to anyone. I have always been a hopeful person, so I do enter any relationship with the intent to trust. But after all these years, I could name the people I would absolutely trust with my life on only a very few fingers.

I guess some experiences just have a way of altering your perception of the world.

Patti Moore Wilson/© wednesdayschildca.wordpress.com

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Author: Patti Moore Wilson, wednesdayschild2

I write what I feel. And I rarely know exactly what I feel until I write. I have lived long enough to have known many joys and many sorrows. I have made many mistakes; I have forgiven myself for a few… I have learned that there are lessons in every step of this journey, if we only take the time to pay attention… I hope you will feel free to pick and choose the stories that resonate for you…

10 thoughts on “A Word or Two About Trust”

    1. I think this was in part what I wanted to get across: my heart goes out to the people who were keeping me that day because I know they didn’t look away for very long and I know they had my – and my sister’s – safety foremost in their minds. Terrible things happen to even the most vigilant people. I am so glad that I managed to get out of that pool: I shudder to think of them carrying such a terrible burden for the rest of their lives. And my heart REALLY goes out to the folks who do carry such burdens… it all happened so quietly; I profoundly understand how it is so easy for a person to miss the signs…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. never given freely….always earned, or not

    I totally get that gaining-clarity-at-a-tender-age thing
    At three years-old, while camping in Yosemite, we broke camp….I brought one more cup of water to douse the fire ring, looked up and everyone was gone…
    Of course, they came back…..my mom was not on that trip….and that was the only time my brothers got to be in the car while my dad “peeled out”

    Cried for a very long time over that one

    Like

  2. I remember the same thing at around eight: Quietly drowning and struggling while the adults partitioned their attention between the dozens of children in the pool. No one saved me… I struggled to the side and I doubt I even mentioned it…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is such a misconception that drowning people flail around and make tons of noise. And oh, Charlie, I am sorry that happened to you. Not sure why it always sounds worse when we hear others’ stories… I am so sorry it took me so long to respond: for some reason, I can no longer access my comments on my i-pad, where I always tend to read and answer my messages. I have been super busy with ‘life things’ for the past few months and and no where near my computer so I have missed quite a bit…

      Liked by 1 person

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