Deep End

Episode Eleven

Deep End

Robbie’s entire love life passed before his eyes as he crashed into the ground.

He swam in the pitch black of his unconsciousness. The feeling of warm water flowed over him. And he felt as if he were simultaneously sinking and floating. He imagined this is what an embryo must feel when it curled up in its womb.

Then he felt himself fly into the freezing cold blackness like he was soaring into a night sky wiped of its stars. And in a split second, he felt himself dropping again. Except he was slowly lowered this time until he settled on what felt like soft earth. His skin was tickled by wet grass brushing against him. He was cuddled by the sensation of warm lips touching his shriveled ones. They breathed into him and he felt his lungs expand. He gasped, and he coughed, and he vomited water.

As he opened his eyes, a harsh light stung them, then it faded into a delicate aura surrounding a glowing, heavenly face that hovered above him. He could pick those rosy cheeks out of a crowd even if he was drunk as a skunk. They belonged to Katy Hammond. Her lips stuck to his, leaving honey-flavoured lip gloss on him as she pulled away.

The sight of a party crowd huddling around them slammed into Robbie’s vision. The sound of the murmuring crowd flooded into his water-logged ears. The party-goers circled around them, squishing in on them as they stared down at him.

In a soft voice, Katy said, “You reek of beer.”

It wasn’t the kiss of life he wanted from her but at least he was alive.

Piercing light came off the back of the mansion. It clouded what parts of the night sky that were still visible above the party scene. 

The expanse of stars erratically winked at Robbie in the opaque, inky sky. A sharp dull throb shot up and down Robbie’s limbs. And the world throbbed red for a split second before everything returned to normal. But the sharp pain remained. 

Katy held up four fingers. She asked, “Fingers, how many?”

Robbie nodded. He said, “Four?”

Her smile stretched across her cherubic cheeks. She peered around at the crowd squeezing in around them. She shouted, “Give us space.”

They all took a step back and talked amongst themselves, resuming their idle chatter and sipping at their red plastic cups.

She looked down at Robbie with her eyes sparkling like stars. She said, “You almost drowned.” She breathed deep and slow as if she were catching her breath after a long run. “I had to give you mouth-to-mouth,” she said.

It wasn’t the kiss of life he wanted from her but at least he was alive.

Robbie touched his soaked-to-the-bone jeans clinging to his legs, and moving his fingers stung. Again, his vision went blurry until all he could see was red.

Katy slapped his stomach. She said, “Don’t move.”

Robbie asked, “Why?” Coughing after he spoke. He looked down and saw his hands were snapped at the wrists. He could see shards of bone jutting out of the naked, meaty, pink flesh of his arms. “Oh,” he said, quivering from shock.

She gently pressed him flat against the ground. “Rest. The paramedics are on their way.” She gave him that smirk people give when they’re disappointed in someone. “Luckily, you’re brownout drunk or you’d be in a ton of pain.”

“Wild men, not stupid men.”

“What happened?”

“You hit the edge of the pool, doing a split second of a handstand on it, then kind of, leapfrogged into the deep end,” she said, shaking her head. “You almost drowned.” She sighed, “Why would you do such a thing?”

Robbie gazed up at her concerned face framed in the brilliant, midnight sky. He gulped down the dry lump in his throat, he said, “I wanted you to like me.”

“What makes you think crazy, stupid stunts like jumping off of a four-story mansion turns me on?”

“That day in the library, you said, a wild man makes you swoon.”

“Yeah,” she rolled her eyes, “Like someone who plays wicked sick guitar solos or drives a motorcycle, or rock climbs. Wild men, not stupid men.”

“Oh,” Robbie said as he felt his face flush hot with embarrassment in the chilly air.

“I liked you because we shared the same music taste,” she said.

And he said, “You liked me?”

“I like intelligent men who share common interests with me.”

“You liked me?

“A word of advice, anyone who needs you to impress them with silly stunts like what you just pulled, probably isn’t worth your time,” she said. She glanced at the paramedics rushing over to them, parting the crowd. She backed away from Robbie. “Get well soon.”

“See you in English class,” he croaked. “And next time, I’ll just shoot you a music playlist, next time, I want to say I like you.”

“Yeah, sure,” she laughed.