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when it happened.
“Jerry,” came the voice, as clear as if it were Bob talking next to me. I looked in every direction, but there
was no one there.
“Jerry,” came the voice again, but I still could see no one. I began to cry and yell for help. I felt completely
“Jerry,” came the voice a third time. “You must listen to me if you want to save your brother. Don’t think
about me right now. I want you to think about Bob and do exactly as I say.”
I was beginning to get cold. The voice had startled me, but somehow I realized that voice was Bob’s only
chance to survive. I stopped and listened.
“Okay,” I said, “help me.”
“You can’t swim well enough to save Bob, so take a deep breath right now,” the voice instructed.
I took in as much air as I could hold and listened.
“I want you to dive under the water to where Bob is. When you see him, take his feet and place them on your
shoulders. Then, stand up as tall as you can. You must do that right now.”
I quickly ducked under the water. Bob was no more than five feet from me. I swam down toward him and
grabbed his feet, then placed them on my shoulders.
“Jerry,” came the voice, “now stand up as tall as you can, and Bob will be able to lift his head out of the
water and breathe. Do that now.”
I did exactly as I was told, and soon I heard Bob coughing. He was breathing.
“Jerry, keep your eyes open. Look for where the floor of the lake climbs upward toward the shore. Walk
toward the shore now.” I saw where the floor of the lake sloped upward, so I began to walk in that direction.
I was not able to hold my breath another second, when the voice said, “When you have to breathe, let go of
Bob’s feet and swim to the surface, and take a deep breath.” I quickly let go of Bob’s feet and headed for the
surface. My lungs felt like they would explode if I waited another second. I burst through the surface, gasping
“Tell Bob you will carry him to shore, but you must go back underwater to make sure he’s safe. He trusts
you, Jerry. Do this now.”
“Jerry, don’t leave me here! I can’t swim,” said Bob, grabbing my neck and head, panicking while he tried to
stay afloat. I took his arms and held them in front of me as I looked into his eyes.
“Bob, I can’t swim good enough to save us, so I am going back underwater to carry you to the shore, like I
just did. Don’t be afraid. I’ll be right under you.”
“Don’t go, Jer! I don’t want to drown!” he cried, shaking with fear.
“I won’t let anything happen to you, Bob. I promise.”
I didn’t wait for a response. I swam back under the water and placed his feet on my shoulders once again.
Then, I continued my walk toward the shore. The voice that had carefully orchestrated the saving of my
brother’s life was silent. I was on my tiptoes when I was finally able to stand with my head above the surface,
holding Bob in my arms while I carried him to safety. I held him like he was the most precious thing on earth
because at that moment, he was!
I struggled to lift him from the water and help him to shore. We walked to the blanket and sat down,
“Bob,” I said, looking at him with his head hung low, “you can’t say a word to Dad or he’ll kill me! Okay?”
“I won’t, I promise,” he replied. The fright was still visible in his eyes.
Bob grabbed my hand as we stopped and stared deeply into one another’s eyes. “Thanks for saving me,” he
said, and then he burst out crying. As he wrapped his arms around my neck, holding on to me for what seemed
like an eternity, he told me he loved me. I couldn’t bring myself to let go of him for some time.
“Bob, I’m glad you’re here,” I said, smiling through my tears. “I was just as scared as you,” I said, trying to
understand what it might have been like without him but not able to wrap my head around the idea.
We sat there sobbing until the fear had passedthat frightening fear of not being in control, the fear of loss.
We somehow knew this moment would be one we would carry with us for the rest of our lives. It marked a
point in our lives, a pause in time, when we knew we had averted something bigger than either of us realized.
Somewhere deep in our hearts we knew that day would come, but not nownot while we were locked in one