IN OVER MY HEAD
We went to Caribou, Maine, two weeks ago, for our annual St. Germaine family reunion. Mom is mostly dating Roberto, but she still goes out with Nick from time to time. Since Nick is Mom’s backup boyfriend, I was shocked when she told me Nick was driving us to Maine.
I suppose I shouldn’t have been that surprised because I’m not sure how we would have gotten to Caribou since we still don’t have a car, and Roberto still doesn’t know I exist.
I think Nick must really love Mom because even though she told him that she loves someone else, he hasn’t given up on her.
When we got to Caribou, Mom showed Nick around, although there wasn’t much to see except a bunch of potato farms and the Aroostook River.
Then we drove from Caribou to Eagle Lake for the family reunion. I helped Mem, and her sisters set up the picnic tables for lunch until a bunch of the kids decided to swim out to the floating lake dock. I didn’t know how to swim, but I really wanted to go with them, so I grabbed a swim tube and paddled out anyway.
The kids were diving off the dock, which roughed up the water, and I somehow slipped through the tube. As I sunk under the water, I panicked but luckily bobbed back up to the surface. But my tube floated away, and the water sloshing into my mouth made it impossible to yell for help.
I struggled to stay above the water, but I sank anyway. As I slowly dropped under, I could see the sun’s brightness above me. I thought I was a goner until a shadow blocked the sunlight, and someone grabbed me by the arm.
It was Nick! He was shaking, maybe even more than me, but he was a strong swimmer and dragged me to the sandy shore where Mom and Mem were crying hysterically. Mom was hugging and crushing me. I shoved her off of me so I could throw up. Mem was screaming at Mom that she should never have taken her eyes off me.
“Are you ever going to take responsibility for Tony?” Mem asked Mom. Nick tried to calm Mem down by saying he was watching me the whole time, but Mem told him while looking in Mom’s direction, “that’s what a mother is supposed to do.” Mere Germaine nodded in agreement which was a shock because she usually takes Mom’s side on everything.
Even though I was throwing up, I made sure not to miss a single word of what was being said. Mem made me promise never to go into the water again, which is more than okay with me because the only water I plan on ever getting into is in the bathtub.
The next day, Mem refused to speak to Mom even though Nick tried his best to calm down the situation. But Mem wasn’t calming down. She wouldn’t let me out of her sight and kept repeating that it was high time Mom woke up to the fact that she was someone’s mother, and again, Mere Germaine agreed.
With Mem and Mere Germaine giving Mom a hard time, she insisted we cut the trip short, so we left Caribou two days early. As usual, what Natalie wants, Natalie gets.
When Nick dropped us off, he lifted me out of his car and hugged me. When I thanked him for saving my life, Nick took my face into his hands, kissed the top of my head, and said, “You know I love you, Kiddo.” That was the first time a man ever said he loved me. “I love you too, Nick,” I said back, which was the first time I had ever said that to a man.
I wasn’t happy that I almost drowned, but it was worth it to have Nick say he loved me and to say I loved him back. Now all I have to do is get Mom to love him too.
4 thoughts on “My Stolen Diaries – Chapter 16: In Over My Head”
Your life growing up has always made me wonder how you turned out so normal.(I’ve been asked as many times as well.) This always reminds me. How strong.. how resilient and how special you really are. This also reminds me, even though we don’t see each other nearly enough how we will always be together in spite of it.. you are very brave and I’m very proud of you. But please don’t leave me hanging on this story. I love you.
Thank you so much for your kind words. As you know all too well, life isn’t easy, but we need to live it to the fullest, no matter how challenging…I love you too, Peter. And I miss you!
What a forever memory, Teri, simply described & beautifully conveyed. Helps to understand why you still aren’t crazy about swimming anywhere. 😘
Comprehending the meaning of those 3 words “I love you” at such a young age played a significant role in “Tony” becoming the loving soul she is today.