Listen to an audio version of The Raft
By Cecilia Rogers
“I can’t!” My voice, high and strident, carries out across the water.
“Sure you can; come on, try.” My sister’s voice, low and calm, comes to me clearly.
“No, I can’t.”
“But you did last year.”
Last year. Perhaps. But this is now, and I know I cannot do it. I don’t answer her.
“Come on, just try.”
Still no answer.
“Do you want me to come and get you?”
My teeth are chattering together with the cold, so I nod, and watch as she swims toward me.
I am standing in the water, and when I look down my feet seem to be very close to the surface. There are little minnows swimming around — the other kids say that they nibble on your toes, but I don’t believe it. I’ve never felt them do that.
It is the first morning of our summer vacation, which we spend every year at the cottage. We got up early this morning, my older sister and me, in order to go swimming. While everyone else slept, we put on our bathing suits, found some towels and went outside. We didn’t bother eating any breakfast, but went straight down to the lake.
When we got there she dove in; she just went in and started swimming. I put one foot in, and when it was numb with cold, the other one. Moving by slow degrees, I am now just up to my knees, and shivering. Continue reading