Just like the cartoons, in my panic I managed to break the surface 3 times before I started sinking. Strangely enough at that point I was no longer experiencing any type of fear. I was totally relaxed and calm, my eyes were open as I dispassionately watched the surface of the lake slowly retreat. Then it happened, a blinding bright light enveloped my entire field of vision. The next thing I remember was it felt like being tossed backwards a few feet through the air to land on my butt. That sensation snapped my attention and vision back into focus.
At that point about 3′ in front of me I found myself staring at the crouching lifeguard and as soon as our eyes locked he says, “WHAT HAPPENED, YOU WERE DOING FINE?” Dazed & confused my mind was still trying figure out how I got on the beach so I didn’t have an immediate answer for him and he stalked back to his chair, after, commanding me to stay out of the water for 1hr.
Since then my mind has had plenty of time to relive that experience and I’m certain the bright light was nothing more than the noon sun as viewed from the crook of the lifeguard’s arm. He didn’t have to pump the water from my lungs or administer mouth to mouth because apparently I just quit breathing during the ordeal, but I’m not certain I died or was dead long enough to have an OBE and go meet my maker.
The incident has left me with more questions than answers. Here’s one, I was multiple years shy of my teens when this happened. Had it took them a few hours to realize I was missing, at that age I had nothing to be ashamed of, I could have been processed by St. Peter and been admitted into heaven on the spot. Now five decades later, my record may be a little spotty and if I don’t pass muster and have to fry for eternity can I blame the lifeguard?