Water Buddy
By Amberfly

 

When I was a little girl, I went to a summer camp called Camp Tahoma. Dad said it was brand spanking new, and I remembered seeing the painted tables with even brighter umbrellas fluttering in the breeze. Nestled on a sparkling lake, I told him it was the prettiest place I’d ever been too, and that I wanted to live there forever. He laughed, and told me careful what I wished for!

I went there instead of my normal camp because my parents decided that I needed to learn to swim, and Mom read that everyone was assigned a water buddy. The safety aspect appealed to them I suppose, and so, the extra money was found, and I went along. There was no choice who you were paired up with though, and absolutely no debate. We learned to make the best of it, and holding hands; we all shut up and buddied up. The water buddy we were told was to keep us from drowning, but we all knew it was really so the counselors could ignore us while having a smoke or flirt with each other.

With the pragmatism of children we accepted this and whether we liked it or not, we learned to rely on each other. We quickly learned several significant things. Your assigned water buddy did more than watch you flounder in the lake. Her job was to look out for you, make sure you had a seat next to her for supper, and when our folks came to collect us; we clung to each other and sobbed like our hearts were breaking.  Dad never understood, but in those weeks at camp we’d become so close, we were family.

I wonder if this happy childhood experience helped me bond with Daniel. He became my water buddy and running interference with Colonel O’Neill, he kept me from metaphorically drowning, making sure I was okay, and I loved him for it.

Sitting in the infirmary watching Daniel slowly die before my eyes, I want to save him from drowning. I want to reach out my hand and help him to the shore, save him a seat next to me, make sure there aren’t any frogs down his shirt. But, I know it’s too late, and it’s all I can do not to scream in frustration. How could this have happened? How could I have allowed this?  Where was I when he reached out to me? I have failed to keep my water buddy from drowning.

To lose Daniel is inconceivable to me. I need his friendship and that sense of family forever.

But… it's not to be.

At eight years old, I learned the hard way that we lose our water buddies, and I hear my father chiding me that no amount of crying will change that.

I guess something’s never change.

 

The End

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