Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Snakes and Lakes

My best friend Michelle lived in a lakeside community where winding roads were made from white gravel. Tires kicked up dust as cars sped down the precarious lanes. Trees were sparse, anything green sparser. The grass was covered in a fine layer of gray, remnants of weeks worth of travelers. Only when the rains came did everything gleam anew.

And falling H2O was not present this day.

Michelle and I walked down these roads, passing boarded up homes, barking dogs, drunken neighbors, and the occasional dead animal. Blue skies stretched endless across the Texas sky. Our conversation ranged from simple schoolgirl gossip to more serious issues like our parents and siblings. We shared everything. We laughed. And then we met up with some friends.

“Who wants to go for a swim?” her boyfriend Chad asked, grin stretching ear to ear.

My partner in all things looked at me and winked. “We do!”

Chad glanced from Michelle to me to his buddy Randy. “Meet us at the boat ramp in half an hour.”

Randy was a cute kid with dark blond hair, dimples and a boyish look that made him appear off limits. He was a year younger than us, and when you’re twelve, one year makes a huge difference.

Locking arms with Michelle, we bounced back to her house and changed then ran for the boat ramp. We dropped our towels on the weathered brick seawall and stripped down to our bathing suits. The boys were already in the water, laughing and splashing about, and we wanted in on the fun.

Lake Tawakoni’s murky, rust colored waves lapped against the concrete ramp. Michelle and I ran into the water, ignoring the pain from the sharp rocks under our bare feet, and launched into a game of Marco Polo. We lost repeatedly to Chad and Randy who swore they weren’t peeking, but it was fun either way.

I climbed on Randy’s sun-kissed shoulders and Michelle climbed on Chad’s, then my best friend and I tried knocking each other down. We grabbed each other’s wrists and pushed and pulled . . . and both ended up in the water.

I stood up, laughing and gasping for air.

Randy flashed his cute little smile at me then looked at Michelle and Chad. “Time for a break?”

Everyone nodded in agreement and I just stood there for awhile, staring out toward the horizon, where the water appeared to meet the sky, skimming my fingers over the surface of the lake.

Nature has always amazed me.

Randy swam closer to where I waded, making my heart-that-knew-better-than-to-rush do just that. He was cute, but . . . .

My stomach jolted by the touch of something sliding around me. I looked down into the dark water and saw a snake wrapping itself around my waist. My heart stopped rushing, and skidded to an abrupt halt. I gasped and, without thinking, reached for the slithering creature, grabbed it, received a nice bite on my lower back, and flung it away from myself.

Screaming, I abandoned the water in search of safe, dry land. When I turned around to check for the others, I saw Chad flinging the snake away from Michelle—some friend I was, sending the snake right at her—then the two of them ran out of the lake as well.

She was mad, but her scowl faded when she reached me. “You’re bleeding.”

I sucked in a sharp breath, afraid to look, afraid to see just how much blood was on me. “Is it bad?” I asked, imagining a long ride to the hospital.

Randy knelt behind me and pressed his hand against my stinging flesh. “Not bad.”

Looking over my shoulder, I saw the spot on my back with two holes in it, saw the blood mixed with bacteria riddled water seeping down my body, and felt woozy. “W-Was it p-p-poisonous?”

Before anyone had a chance to respond, the world around me faded in and out, my head spun, my legs felt disconnected from the rest of me and I blacked out.

“Krystal? Oh my God, Krystal! Wake up.” Michelle shook my arms, repeating my name over and over.

Opening my eyes, I stared up into Michelle’s angelic face. “I’m okay.”

Really I felt fine. My heart was still beating. There wasn’t any pain coursing through me. My bite could be compared to a brush burn. The biggest problem I faced was embarrassment. I passed out from fear. Who could live that down?

Randy took my hand and helped me up. “We’ll walk you guys home.”

Michelle smiled and laced fingers with Chad, and I kept my head down while Randy kept my towel pressed to my back, and we all walked to Michelle’s house.

The boys departed once we got to her door, then my friend turned to me, wearing a huge grin. “He likes you.”

Embarrassment heated my face, chest, arms and legs, and I thought I’d pass out for the second time that day, but I took a deep breath, smiled then said, “I know.”

We plopped down on her couch, and I wondered if the guys would tell everyone at school about what happened or if they’d keep it a secret. Michelle spent hours trying to convince me age didn’t matter, but at the end of the day I was just me. A simple girl having a good time with her best friend, confused about boys, embarrassed about snakes and boys, and wondering if it all mattered.


  1. First! Scary! Happy you didn't die that day.... :)

  2. awww horrific getting bitten by a snake but sweet getting a nibble of love x

  3. Anonymous11/15/2011

    So the REAL question here is... whatever happened with Randy? lol

  4. I'm happy I'm alive, too! :-)

    It was awful, but not as bad as it could have been. Water snakes are a bit aggressive. And love never blossomed between the two of us.

    To spare everyone from sadness, I'm witholding that cute boy's story.

  5. I would have passed out the minute I saw the snake. Ewww.

  6. You have no idea how much I missed reading your blog when my laptop was sick. But I'm back now and I am also happy you are alive, so that you can write and I can read your work!

  7. I'm surprised I didn't, Kelly. It was really scary!

    Michelle, I've missed you too! Sorry your laptop was sick (and about the deleted book). Glad you're back to commenting!

  8. Wow, I would have freaked. Water snakes tend to be poisonous...

  9. Love the ending:) As always, quite the entertainer!

  10. Anonymous11/15/2011

    I would have totally freaked. Not sure if I would have moved or not though. Ewwww! But seriously? No cute boy story? :(

  11. Marie- Water Snakes (they are an actual type of snake) are aggressive and non-venomous. Water moccasins are quite venomous, but from what I understand, cannot bite in the water. (Something my hubby has taught me.)

    Tania, thank you so much! glad you enjoyed. It had been awhile since I've written a childhood post.

    Debra, yeah, I was pretty embarrassed. And the cute boy story cannot be shared.

  12. Shocking! Oh my Goodness! Darn snake! I thought it wasn't real, I thought it was part of a novel your making. Laughing out loud. Sorry about that.

    I'm glad you're okay!

  13. Closest I've come to a snake was when I stood on one while on a family holiday in Canada. Scary, but nowhere close to what you experienced!

  14. Haha, nope...true story, Ann!

    That was my worst snake experience...I think.

  15. Anonymous11/16/2011

    I WOULD HAVE DIED. I actually like snakes when I can hold them, but not when they're slithering/swimming around in attack mode. I REPEAT: I WOULD HAVE DIED.

  16. After your reaction to the snake in your house, I know you would have died! EEEK! It was pretty scary.

  17. Exactly the reason I don't swim in water I can't see through. Scary stuff, Krystal!

  18. Exactly why I don't anymore! :-)

  19. Anonymous11/16/2011

    I really enjoyed this, Krystal! However, I do believe that you handled your horrific snake experience much better than I would have. Ugh, it makes me cringe just thinking about it!

  20. UGH! I hate snakes. Honestly, when Indiana Jones made that face and was like "I hate snakes" I could relate. The stupid things always have a way of making it into my life. I have so many more snake stories. This, by far, was my WORST experience with one though. Thanks for commenting, Relatedreality!

  21. OMG!! This was a great read, Krystal. I truly enjoyed this fine writing of yours!!

  22. Thank you, Charlie! :-) So glad you popped over here.

  23. Thanks Krystal, it is great to be back to reading and commenting. Loved this story, the way you described Texas, but Holy God.....the snake part was freaky. Thank God we had St. Patrick get rid of ours!!

  24. I think I might have had a heart attack in the water. I hike and am around wildlife pretty often, but I don't feel comfortable getting that comfy with any serpentine friends. I love the very last part. Well written as usual.


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