My cousin and I had been lying on the beach and had decided to go in the water to cool off. We were enjoying ourselves when all of a sudden, we weren't where we should have been! We'd gotten caught in one of those darned riptides! It's something you hear about from friends but had never believed it could happen to you.
My cousin was a strong swimmer, having lived in Manhattan Beach, and she also spent a summer with her aunt in Hawai'i. But here I was, way out over my head and in trouble! She stayed right by my side, encouraging me to hang in there when I noticed some older guys on rafts. I paddled over to one and grabbed on. I tried to explain what had happened but I was out of breath. My hero pushed me away and took off.
Next thing I know, there's a lifeguard coming my way with a tow rope in hand. I became horribly embarrassed (shoot, dying is less important to a 16 year old, I guess!) so I told him I was okay.
I floated awhile, then swam, until we finally made it to shore. I remember my knees knocking together like crazy! We flopped down on our beach towels none the worse for wear...