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Short Stories

A Mere Mortal by Ramkumar Menon Tabor is old, helpless and all alone. He takes a journey through mystical paths and .... Read alo... [3,753 words]
Ed's Gift by Jeffrey (George) Winter An insignificant man imparts the truth of wisdom and peace. [1,308 words]
When I Lived In Sodom by Musau This is a story that tries to get under your skin but keeps you curious in spite of it. [2,472 words]
To Understand The True Meaning Of Meaning by Musau This is strictly for adult reading because of language and implicatio... [5,480 words]
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You Are My Sunshine by Sue (Sooz) Simpson - [1,285 words]
White Icing by Sue (Sooz) Simpson - [1,385 words]
Until Tuesday by Alif Muhammad It is a work concerning a life that is altered completely by an event that reveals itself slowly ... [6,761 words]
Under The Whether by Sue (Sooz) Simpson - [1,626 words]
They Stole It From Me by Peter Izdebski A moment stolen; one which could have answered all that I needed to know; a moment which ... [960 words]
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Part 4 Conclusion by David MacDonald The conclusion to The Video Store Girl. [3,679 words]
Part 3 by David MacDonald The Third part of The Video Store Girl. [2,934 words]
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Life In Puerto Rico by Kelly McMonagle This is a short story about the three years I lived in Puerto Rico. [575 words]
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Keep Your Enemies Close by Hope C Clarke - [3,437 words]
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Ghost Town - Part Three by David B Doc Byron Lexxus and the darkman finally meet on the streets of the ghost twon for the final show... [314 words]
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Swimming Lessons
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Swimming Lessons
A short story about the life lessons I learned at swimming as a young boy and how I applied them to a horrible accident I suffered at the time.
[1,131 words]
Alan Johnson
I am an 18 year old high school senior. I enjoy athletics, video games, and reading. I am in student council and I am a captain of the football team.
[September 2002]
Swimming Lessons
Alan Johnson

I was really fearful as a little kid. As a matter of fact, to this day I still worry about
stupid little things. Likely cause? My mom is one of the biggest worriers that God ever
created. Anyways, I was pretty much scared to do anything that didn�t just come natural
and easy to me. Swimming was one of those things.

Apparently, the Native Americans would throw their babies in water soon after
birth and they would know how to swim because there�s liquid in your mother�s womb.
That was a really long time ago, however, and since they�d give your child to social
services if you did that today, I didn�t have that luxury.

It showed. I swam like I had cement blocks around my feet. Those who didn�t
know any better probably thought the Don Corleone had me weighted down so I could go
and sleep with the fishes. Well, these stellar swimming skills, or the lack-there-of made
swimming lessons somewhat of a hassle.

My mom would wake me up early and she�d help me get dressed so we could hop
in the car and drive over to the local YMCA. When we got there my mom would go up
to the viewing area and leave me to the whims of this great ocean, the Y swimming pool.
I was about three years old, so we only swam in the shallow end, but man, did we do
some scary stuff! I first realized swimming was not my sport when I did one of those
underwater flips and I got a bunch of water up my nose (This is really weird, but one time
I stuck a rock in my nose before swimming lessons and I almost had to go to the hospital to get it out, but luckily I sneezed). Swimming across the short end of the pool was also a
tough one for me. We might as well have been swimming the Gulf of Mexico. It didn�t
take me long to realize this was dangerous. I no longer attended swimming lessons, I
attended hugging lessons. I had these hugging lessons with my swimming instructor
because all I did the rest of swimming was cling to her. She was an attractive 16 year old
girl with long brown hair and her name was Nancy. I remember, even then, thinking how
pretty she was.

Nancy always had me do the same things as the other kids, even when the
activities were hard, but she was with me the whole way guiding me and helping me until I
got to where I was going or finished whatever skill we were learning. Now, not to be
biased against the other kids, but I�m pretty sure I was Nancy�s favorite. Just a cute little
kid who couldn�t swim very well, and I was her favorite. Swimming lessons went on like
this for a couple of weeks, and before I knew it, it was over. I thought the last day of
swimming was the last I�d see of my instructor, but I was wrong. Nancy would be with
me forever.

A couple of months later, on Wednesday, July 1st, 1987, at around 3 o�clock on a
sticky afternoon, my friend, Justin, and I were pretending we were important people in a
parade while we laughed and fooled around unsupervised at his house in his parent�s
Camaro convertible. All was fine until Justin pulled the emergency break. The car began
to roll down the driveway. Justin leaped out the side unscathed, but I, in my infinite
wisdom, jumped out the back, tripped, fell, and hit my head on the pavement with a
sickening thud. Wearily, I watched as the blackness of the bottom of the car engulfed me.
My brief life to that point flashed before my fearful eyes.

The ambulance arrived minutes later. I remember laying in the middle of the
street, on Louisiana Avenue, watching it approach, worried that it, too, like the
convertible, would hit me. I was a mess. Laying in the street was a half-dead three year
old with tire marks on his head, his skin scraped off by the rough asphalt, a broken leg
twisted at a strange angle, a fractured back, and a crimson pool silhouetting his body. I
was rushed to the hospital, where I�d be for a month and after my clothes were cut off, I
was immediately put into surgery. Within the day, I was laying on a bed with my right leg
in traction, my back still, and with bandages protecting my lacerated body.

My mom saw my swimming instructor at the mall about a week later. Nancy was
with her mom and when she saw my mother, she giddily ran up to her and asked how I

My mom looked at her sadly, and said, �He was hit by a car.�

Nancy was distraught. My mom told me Nancy�s mother had to almost literally
hold her up to keep her knees from buckling. My mom assured Nancy I�d be fine, though
in her heart, I know, she too wondered. Nancy insisted to her mom that they must visit
me as soon as possible.

The next day, Nancy and her mom came to my hospital room and Nancy brought
me a bright red toy fire helmet. She talked to me for a little while and though I don�t
remember what she said and probably didn�t even know then either because I was so
sedated, I remember the smile on her face and the love in her eyes when she talked and I
knew she was telling me that I�d be alright.

When Nancy left that day, that was the last time I�d ever see her, but she left a
lasting imprint on my soul. When I had to learn to walk again and do painful therapy, I thought of our days in the pool, when she would guide and help me. When people looked
at me funny for being a four year old with a walker and an awkward limp, I thought of her
cheerfully helping me at swimming, even though some of the older swimmers were
snickering. I thought of swimming lessons a lot during those times. Compared to what I
was going through, swimming was cake.

When I finally walked on my own again, in my family room, while watching
Pinocchio and wearing the shiny red fire helmet, I realized all the lessons I had learned
from Nancy at swimming lessons about not only swimming, but life in general.

You should always believe in yourself and you can do whatever you dream and
even if you fall down along the way, there are always loved ones to help you get back on
your feet. Thanks for the swimming lessons, Nancy.


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© 2002 Alan Johnson
September 2002

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