Shoulders

xander vento

He stood on the step at the shallow end of the pool and watched a bird land a thin branch across the yard. The adults were sitting in the shade. Smoke rose up from the grill and formed small gray clouds that drifted up and over the yard and the boy took another small step down into the water.

It was cold against his waist.

A little girl was walking around the edge of the pool. He dug his hand deep into the cold blue water and when the little girl got close enough he rushed his hand through the pool and tossed the water out at the girl.

She screamed.

One of the adults looked over their shoulder but they didn’t say anything. The clouds lifted up off of the grill and the little boy laughed as the girl ran to the other end of the deck.

“Stop,” she said. “I don’t want to get wet.”

“It’s a pool,” the boy said. “You’re supposed to get wet.”

She looked down at the wet tiles and steadied her feet inside of a single square. She held her hands out at her side and carefully moved from one to the next.

The boy watched her, his hand buried beneath the cold blue water, and waited.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

The girl whispered something to herself but didn’t look up. She just moved, slowly, one square by one square, around the edge of the pool.

He swirled the water around in front of him and when the girl was close enough he threw the water in her direction. It hit her skirt. She started running.

When she fell into the water the little boy laughed. He stuck his hand under the water and waited to splash her again. But she never came back up.

Well, her arms did. And maybe once her head breached the surface.

The water choked her screams and the boy, without thinking, dove into the water.

He tried to pull her to the side but the closeness of death, the fear of drowning, forced the girl’s limbs to flail frantically in the water. She crawled on top of him. She stood on his shoulders. She stepped down on his neck and pushed her face out into the fresh Texas hair.

His toes scraped along the bottom of the pool. The girl’s feet dug into his neck. He swallowed a large gulp of water pushed the girl toward the surface as the bubbles that fell from his lips slowed, then stopped.

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A 4-year-old Texas boy has died after sacrificing his life to save a little girl from drowning. – Huffington Post

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