“Water is the Driving force of all nature”- Leonardo da Vinci

Water and I have always had an interesting relationship. Some days we were inseparable, and others she was a cruel mistress who sought to entice and smother me to death. Either way I’ve always had a fondness for water. In 2011 my aunt and uncle were hosting a pool party at their house in New Jersey. Like every other time I was eager to visit them and take a dip in their pool, but this year was special. I was even more excited to bring my cousin along so that he too could experience the same joy that I felt every summer. My cousin is two years older than me and every summer he would spend the week at our house. So me, my mom, my dad, my brother and cousin hop in the car and begin our journey to New Jersey, where fate will have me experience something I will never forget. In the car we planned what we would games we would play in the pool, what food we eat and how we would teach each other different types of dives that we have learned over the years. As we progress, it is tradition that we stop by the Wawa located a mile from my uncle’s house. From Wawa I get a tub of ice cream and a big bottle of Fiji water, knowing that if I didn’t, I might pass out due to heat exhaustion. After leaving Wawa, we continue the rest of our journey and shortly arrive at our destination.

Once we arrived at our destination, I was ecstatic to hop in that glorious pool, but before that I had to pretend like I wanted to see the rest of my family in an awkward display of misplaced affection. The only ones I was excited to see where my uncle, aunt, her mother, three cousins and my godmother. Shortly after I rushed to the bathroom to change into my swimming trunks but as soon as I left out, my mom forces me to put on sunscreen to which I reluctantly comply. After the 5 minutes of rushed sunscreen application was over, I hurry out to the pool without a care in the world. I waited 15 minutes for my cousin to get to the pool and every second that he took I grew more and more agitated.

After what felt like an eternity he got there and the gloves were off. I tackled him into the pool and and our battle began. We assumed the roles of our favorite aquatic superheroes and villains. He was the infamous Black Manta and I was Aquaman. It was a classic battle between good vs. evil, and I had every intention to win. The goal of this game was to come out victorious and to bask in glory.

Elbows, punches, kicks and knees were all muffled and slowed down due to the water pressure. Back flips off the diving board, cannonballs and dives were all apart of the act. Many dynamic hits were traded off underwater. I had the majority of the hits but I knew that my cousin had a trump card up his sleeve. I should have seen it coming. I can remember his smug and arrogant smile but due to my ignorance I took it as just a facade in an attempt to stay true to his character.

In a matter of seconds I felt a major amount of pressure that land in my stomach. I felt like time had stopped as his foot hit my rib cage. Next thing I knew I was dunked underwater and kicked in my head. I was stunned and caught completely off guard. All of a sudden I saw two feet over my face and felt both impacting my face. Both shock and fear struck me. I was unsure of whether we were just playing or if he was serious. Many thoughts entered my mind during my time underwater. I thought maybe I hit him too hard or if he thought we were seriously fighting.

Pain didn’t affect me. Adrenaline fueled me as I was struggling to come up for air but my efforts proved useless as my cousin was holding me down with his feet. I tried to grab his leg in an attempt to stop him but I was kicked in my head again. At that moment I felt as though it would be my dip in my uncle’s pool. Things became blurred and nebulous. I felt a combination of sadness and betrayal. Then, as I thought all hope was lost, I saw a pole which was my beacon of light and I grabbed it. When I awoke, I was surrounded by my dad, cousin and uncle. I hear muffled arguing on who was to blame and why nobody came to help sooner. Once I was able to stand, my mind was blank. I lost the feeling of fear I had in the pool and instead I felt nothing but anger. I was silent. I heard both my dad and uncle trying to talk to me. Questions like, “ Are you okay?”, “ What happened?” went unanswered. I look up at my cousin who was standing directly across from me and I lunged forward and punched him in the face. I watched him go down as my dad grabbed me.

I was infuriated with him and my anger was similar to Jimmy Cross’s in the book The Things They Carried when Ted Lavender died. However, the only thing that died that day was my trust in my cousin. I asked myself, “Why would he do that to me? Why did he try to kill me? What did I do to deserve this?” Like Jimmy Cross I longed for answers and retribution. I wanted nothing more than to see my cousin suffer. He apologized to me but I was certain it wasn’t sincere. To this day, I still don’t know why all that happened but oddly enough I thank him. I am grateful that I now know you should never let your guard down in any situation. Anything can happen and it is important to be aware of your surroundings. Since then, I have forgiven my cousin and I respect him immensely as he enters a new chapter in his life with going into the Navy.

Comments (12)

Arsenio Gomez (Student 2017)
Arsenio Gomez

I learned that really have a good imagination and that you got beat up by your older cousin. I really like the flow of your story it felt natural. The video added a nice tone to the story.

Ebony Ream (Student 2017)
Ebony Ream

I learned that you're very interested in swimming and how it's a tradition for you to go to your aunt and uncle's house to swim in their pool. I liked how descriptive you were with the moments leading up into the incident. The video added a lot of visuals. I appreciate the self drawings. It was cute. Good job Brandon.

Tianna McNair (Student 2017)
Tianna McNair

I learned that you liked to swim which is cool I like to swim too. I really liked how natural the flow was. Nothing seemed forced and everything felt real. The video was like a trailer to a movie.

Stephen Buchanico (Student 2017)
Stephen Buchanico

Excellent story. This story was very well written all the way through. I enjoyed learning about your relationship with water and I also liked the moral of the story. I extremely enjoyed the personification that was used when talking about the water. The video helped add feelings that could not exactly be taken in by just reading it. You were able to sense anger in his voice while telling the story.

Luke Risher (Student 2017)
Luke Risher


I learned about why Brandon is always ready to rail someone

I like the strategy of a lot of description because it really out the readers in your place and helped me connect.

I think the video added a visual element that helped the story.

Vaughn Matthews (Student 2017)
Vaughn Matthews

Just from the beginning of your essay, I felt like your essay was going to be good. I love how you choose the topic of you and your relationship with water, and I like how you used your own artwork. I love the creativity.

Tomas Arango (Student 2017)
Tomas Arango

This is really well written story. You show how this event played an impact on your life, and on your personal beliefs. Your writing style was very direct and it worked very well. Also you use a lot of figurative language which strengthens your piece.

Amanda Bolli (Student 2017)
Amanda Bolli

Nice job, I learned that you and water have a strange relationship and it took you a while for you to forgive your cousin. I liked how your story flowed and that you used descriptive words to help the view picture the moment in the text.

Vilma Martinez (Student 2017)
Vilma Martinez

Great use of description. I learned that you are someone who although talks a lot about needing to show love, you hold onto things such as this. The way you described not only your feelings, but the moments in time help create a vivid image. The video helped put the ending into a much deeper thought.