The Time I Almost Drowned My Sister

via Daily Prompt: Daring (Wrote this yesterday but didn’t have time to polish it)

It was 2001. My family and I were on our very first island holiday ever. The island is Pulau Besar (previously Pulau Babi Besar) off Mersing, Johor. It’s a laidback place with no nightlife or shopping. All you have is the sun, sand and sea.

The first morning, we went to the end of the wooden jetty to snorkel. The waters were so clear you could see schools of fishes swimming around and under the jetty. It was my sister’s and my first time snorkeling and we were excited.

That is, until we were actually in the water. Then I panicked.

Now I love swimming. But this time, I was flopping and splashing around, basically in pure panic. In fact, it got so bad that I eventually clung onto my sister and pulled her under.

That’s when my dad stepped in. He called us out of the water, set me down on the jetty steps and looked me in the eye.

“Okay. You’re a good swimmer. You love swimming. What’s going on???”

“I’m afraid of great white sharks.”

Now if we were in Australia, I suppose that’s a perfectly reasonable answer. But this was Malaysia. We’ve got no great whites.

But the thing is, some weeks before the holiday, I read a news report about a great white being found off the coast somewhere. Experts concluded that it was swept here by currents. It was a small one and didn’t attack anyone.

It was a snippet of a story, but enough to haunt my imagination that morning, and haunt it badly.

I don’t exactly remember what happened after. My parents were amused, but they could also see that my fear was real. Somehow, they managed to make me see that it was unfounded, prayed, and got me to calm down. My dad coaxed me back into the waters, and although the fear still lingered, I fought it. By the end of the trip, my sister and I were swimming on our own and happily jumping off the jetty many times over.

Just a few weeks ago, my family revisited the island. It was the same sun, sand and sea. It’s been 15 years since that first panic attack. In that time, I learned to face more fears – most of the time unfounded. I still am cautious, especially when the worries are valid. But suffice it to say that I’ve grown up quite a bit.

I’m not adventurous by nature, but thanks to nurture, I think I’ve become a bit more daring.

Habit tracker: Week 1/4; Post 3/5



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