KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 3: Spring 2015
Haibun Story: 247 words

Being Saved

by Dan Gilmore

In the seventh grade when death was something that superheroes always managed to avoid, I pretended I was Tarzan and jumped into the deep end of the Paris Hill pool, certain I’d make it to the other side and someone resembling Jane would greet me there. I choked and flailed, then looked back at my friend, Joe, who stood on the side. Forcing a stupid smile, I then sank to the bottom.

I awoke with the rising awareness of blistering hot cement. I coughed and gurgled and struggled to breathe. Then I realized Joe was lying beside me, almost purple as he gagged to clear the water from his lungs. He couldn’t swim either, but he had jumped in and somehow managed to pull me to the side before he sank.

Joe graduated from college and joined the Air Force. Four years later, on the last day of his enlistment, he tried to pull his fiancé from a rip tide. She lived. He died. When I heard about his death, I filled my bathtub, intending to stay under water to try to feel what Joe must have felt, clinging to her limp body, loving her so much that he would give up his life to save hers. But my lungs ached, and without willing it, I sat up and sucked in air. Still today I wonder if I could ever love anyone that much.

Old age memories:
a jar full of buttons
but no shirts

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