Anonymous confession

I have a story that I think it’s time I finally told, but being a bit of a coward, I want to keep it all anonymous, so I’m not using my name and no real names will be used here.

This was twenty years ago or so, and I was twelve at the time. Even though I was young, I still somewhat blame myself. I know that’s ridiculous, but…well, it’ll make more sense by the end.

What happened was, I saw someone almost drown in a pool. It was my neighbor’s pool, and I was spying on it from my room. It was evening, and there was nothing to do. I wasn’t in the mood for TV or anything, so I just watched the pool and waited to see who would jump in or something. I think there was supposed to be a party, but no one was there yet.

Anyway, I saw one of my neighbor’s kids, who was maybe eight, place some water on the tiles next to the pool. Very foolishly, they had tiled the entire outdoor patio that led right to the pool’s edge. I suppose he thought this would be funny somehow, either it would annoy a parent or it would get someone to slip comically maybe. I don’t know. I didn’t ever talk to him about it.

Anyway, the father did come out, and he did slip, but it wasn’t funny. I don’t know if the boy even saw. He had gotten distracted and run off somewhere by then. I don’t know if he was off watching or anything. So the father slipped, hit his head, and fell in the pool.

I know now I should have done something, but I didn’t. I didn’t call out or do anything. All I did was turn away from the window and just turn on and stare at the TV. I tried to focus on what was on, but I couldn’t.

I didn’t do this because I was callous. I think I was in shock, and I didn’t know what to do. In the end, someone did come out and get him. I heard some shouting. They dragged him out, and I think he was okay.

I don’t actually know everything that happened after that because the whole family moved away shortly. I heard something about the father recovering. And I definitely heard about a lawsuit. It wasn’t wrongful death since he didn’t die, but it was something along those lines. I don’t know if they won or not, but I sort of hope not, since it was no one’s fault really.

Really, in fact, the only person to blame is me. I should have done more, and I didn’t. I’m glad he didn’t die, my neighbor, and I hope it somehow had a happy ending, but I’ve always hated myself for not reacting better in that moment. I wish I’d had the presence of mind to act. Now I fear, no matter the circumstance, I can never trust myself to react in the right way.

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