I hold my breath as my mother holds me under the water.
This is not the first time we have visited Metro Beach. While other people come here to enjoy the beautiful lake, I am dragged here whenever her depression or anger bubbles over.
It’s best to close my eyes. I don’t want to see my mother’s legs struggle as she tries to steady herself in the sand. I hear her rehearsed speech, explaining why I deserve this.
Perhaps the lack of oxygen is letting me slowly tune her out. Her chatter gets softer and softer as each second passes. My arms cease to fight. I let my mind wander to my imaginary place, filled with dancing, happiness, and laughter.
As I drift away from my reality, my mother yanks me out of the water. My raw throat gasps for air. I cough and the lake water spews out of me.
She holds me, patting my back. She promises we will never come back here again. She tells me to forget what happened today. She will change. She will try to be happy.
I won’t hold my breath.