I never got on one, honestly I was too afraid. I couldn’t swim and I knew if I ever tried it, I’d drown myself. Secretly, I wished to ride one, one day. When he told me that I was going to ride, I refused at first. It wasn’t until he told me that he would be riding it with me, that I agreed. We jumped in and he got me settled on the board. He told me to hold on and not let go, while I rode he would steer. Then we were off. He kept the front of the buggy board up while we raced through the water, I remember him screaming into my ear as we shot across the lake to not let the board nose dive down. Got it. We bounced along the lake with the occasional wave almost throwing us airborne. It was fun.
And then he let go.
The last thing I remember him saying was hold on. And that, ladies and gentleman, was the only thing I remembered. In a split second he was gone, I was left to fend for myself in the cold, cruel world; where life lessons were about to be learned. Before ever riding a buggy board, I had come to the conclusion that riding it would be very bumpy and chaotic; during our ride, I was pleasantly pleased to find out that it wasn’t as bad as I imagined it to be. Well, that’s because my brother’s weight was offsetting everything. When he let go, things changed. My fairly smooth ride turned into what I could only describe as a Sunday drive straight through a tornado. My scrawny 80 pounds did nothing for me. I was about to take the ride of a life time. All I could remember to do was hold on!
I bounced a few times, which wasn’t bad. I had already bounced a few times before and it was fine, I could handle this; everything was under control. I wasn’t until I hit a wave head on and was completely airborne that my brain started sending out mayday signals. When I landed the first time it knocked the breath out of me but I held on. I was sliding sideways then, crashing through waves that tried their best to take me out; but I held on. Another wave came and sent me airborne again but this time when I landed I felt myself slipping off. Not today. I mustered every ounce of strength I had and pulled myself up farther onto the board, digging my fingernails into the foam board. And then it all went terribly wrong.
Remember earlier on when my brother told me to keep the front of the board up? I didn’t. When I pulled myself upward, I pushed the nose of the board down. And that’s when I learned why you should keep the front of the board up. I felt the board jerk a few times before the front dipped down and was quickly sucked under the water, I along with it. I was only under a few seconds (all the while in my head I’m thinking, just hold on) before the board shot up completely out of the water; my brother told me later it reminded him of a dolphin. My entire body was airborne. With as much momentum as I had going, my feet shot up behind me past my head. I almost flipped off the board but I held on. I came in for a landing, only I didn’t land on the water; I plowed through it. So here I am gliding through the water, plowing through schools of fish, just praying that the board would come back up soon. I remember thinking; as long as I stay on the board, I can’t drown. Really-though?
The board jerked again and I catapulted upward out of the water and into the air again. For the next full minute I did this over and over again, I’d get sucked under and then I’d spring back up. My wet hair had plastered itself across my face, I couldn’t see; water assaulted me from every direction, I couldn’t breathe. My worst nightmare however was coming true; my solid grip had been broken by the last hard landing. I was sliding off the back of this thing and there was nothing I could do about it.
Finally, I made peace with it and accepted my fate. I let go. I slid right off into the cold water, the waves I thought that would over take me weren’t there. In fact, letting go was the smoothest part of the entire ride. Funny how life works. I waited there to be picked up, the boat (which now had my brother on it) pulled up beside me and they pulled me onto the boat.
“Are you alright?” My brother asked.
“Yeah,” I managed.
“Why didn’t you just let go?” He asked, he was already horse laughing.
“Because you told me to hold on,” I countered.
“I didn’t mean like that.”
To this day, I can’t get near a lake without him giggling.