I was dizzy. I was in pain. And a black haze was seeping into my vision.
The morning beforehand had been perfect. I had woken to the hot, salty Oaxacan air, excited to be in the water again. The sunbaked sand, warm ocean water, and iguanas inhabiting rocky ledges were a perfect, calming way to end a two-week long trip to Oaxaca, Mexico.
We were staying in a sort of apartment. By we, I mean my dad’s boss, a powerful, successful woman named Kymber, her husband Jay, and their daughter, Beija, who was my friend. They had invited me to come in this trip because Beija, being an only child, usually got bored. She was only a month older than me, and she had a great sense of humor.
Beija and I shared the bottom floor, so Jay and Kymber occupied the top. The rooms were identical: a huge, king sized bed in the far back. There was a small bathroom to the right of the bed and a closet to the left. Right next to the main entrance was a small table with three chairs. A couch was merged to a part of the wall, and it jutted out like a white peninsula. There was a stove, oven, and sink peering out of the wall as well. Our huge sliding glass doors opened onto a patio that looked out onto a beach, curtained by palm trees.
There were two other beaches to the left of ours, and we only needed to navigate our way across a protrusion of rocks to get to themBeija and I had been playing at the middle beach. It was my favorite out of the three because there weren’t any rocks underwater, like the beach in front of where we were staying, and the sand wasn’t gravel, like the far beach. I loved the way the waves stormed out of the sea, rampaging towards us like angry hippos. and they were just as strong, too.
After a while, we decided to head back to our beach. There was also a path that went from each beach to the next, but we liked climbing on the rocks.
Beija decided to climb first. I vividly remember those few seconds as I waited for her to climb out of reach of the water, which could slam you into the jagged stones very easily. I remember hoping that neither of us would fall I remember focusing on the rocky step I was prepared to clamber up. And I remember the water.
Beija had just reached the top of the rock. I was balancing on a separate rock, preparing to jump up to where she was. I focused on a spot to land, teetering for a moment like I was on a see-saw. I regained my balance, just in time to hear a scream and feel the wave collide with my body.
The water knocked me off my feet. It shoved me off the bit of rock I was standing on, propelling me toward the beach. My head was under water, and I could feel my hair swirling in the shallow water. I felt tendrils of sand creep up and around my body, twisting with the waves. I struggled for a moment to shove my head out of the water, hoping to catch the breath that had been knocked out of my mouth. As my head broke the surface, I knew that the water was going to pull me back. I felt the wave return, to reunite with the ocean.
I was pushed over backwards, back into the rocks I had been standing on moments before. My back caught on a bit and I felt my skin tear. Salt water filled the gash, and bubbles blew out of my mouth. I couldn’t breathe. Then another wave rocked me to the shallow water again, and I was able to sit up. I inhaled, and turned to see Beija, a horrified expression plastered onto her face as another wave pulled me into the rocks again, slamming my elbows into shards of stone, scratching deep into my flesh. My head hit something, and I felt another spasm of pain shoot through me as my leg scratched.
I don’t remember how I got out of the water, or how I got back to our room. I know I wasn’t unconscious, though, because the pain is still vivid.
My next strong memory is of being in the shower. Beija helped me rinse the sand and salt from my hair and body, and I walked out to Kymber in my bikini. She asked to see my scratches, and I turned and pointed them out obediently. There were more than I had remembered, and even though they were free of the salt they were beginning to sting.
Kymber applied some ointment and bandages to the deep wounds, and stuck a small band aid onto the smaller cuts. That’s when everything began to spin.
My ears were ringing; their voices seemed far away and I couldn’t make out what they were saying. I was dizzy, my head hurt, and my eyes were clouded by black smoke. Things twisted in and out of my vision as I tried to clear my head.
“I have to sit down.” I mumbled. Had I interrupted either of them? Were they even here? Someone led me to the couch, and I bent my knees as I sat, I laid my head on my arm and leaned against the wall. Someone handed me a glass of water, and I drank it gratefully. In a matter of moments, I was fine.
The only physical things left are the scars on my arms.