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The Trouble With Water By Sarah Fonseca

a truth about water

“Yes, you nearly drowned when you were a baby. Rolled right off of that orange floaty and into the lake. When your daddy found you, you were blue,” my mom informed me whenever word of a boating accident on Lake Thurmond made local news headlines, or when a neighbor went missing during a bankside fishing trip. I remembered that I’d nearly died, but not what that felt like. It became easy to fear the water, the unknown depths, their contents.

a truth about water

My father could have taught me anything: the difference between a carburetor and a radiator, how to speak Spanish, or how to draw my mother with nothing but precision and colored pencils. But I remained seated in the backseat of the family’s steady stream of used cars. Rs never rolled out of my mouth in a ripple, and my small hands

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remained preoccupied with wordsnever line contours or shading. Instead, my father tried to teach me to swim. Water against our brown skin was more of a legacy than the tongue I couldn’t speak, the things I was unable to repair or create with my hands. Several decades before my birth, he’d treaded the 300 saline miles between Florida and Cuba with limb and oar. With each stroke, the communist island receded further and further into his past. I am the sole Fonseca heir. A lake in a conservative (yet ultimately benign) southern town should have been an easy nautical starting point for me, the daughter of a man who once conquered the Atlantic. We waded into Lake Thurmond. I hopped onto my father’s shoulders at his beckoning, arms wrapping against the overlabored muscle that contracted and bulged. He treaded water until we were four feet out, five feet out, six feet; wellover my head.

Miscellany Digital Edition, Spring 2014  
Miscellany Digital Edition, Spring 2014  
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