What if, when my uncle 'taught' me how to swim by casting my boy's body in the deep of Long Island Sound, I did not merely panic and gulp salt water and thrash and somehow rise to the top and stagger to the shore but instead . . . drowned? How would this mishap be explained? Almost as shockingly, I suspect no one else knew the frightening agony I had just endured. Were my parents even there on shore? My brothers? Grab a towel, business as usual. And what if is the same question asked about my younger brother's 'swimming lesson' by the same uncle, in a pool, probably my aunt's. Same question. Somehow we carried on. Am I being melodramatic? Or are these two what-if scenarios replete with infinite implications? Sure could explain my fear of water. That, and my friend drowning when he was sixteen, me fourteen. And I cannot recall if my 'swimming lesson' was before or after my friend's drowning.
I can't tell you why this incident surfaced in my mind recently. It's not like I've been swimming. Boating, yes. Maybe because I'm assisting someone with a memoir or because I have worked on my own memoir. Recollections.
Anyway, glad it turned out the way it did.