“Tunnel Hot Tub” By Chad Robert Parker

My older brother sat across from me in a family friend’s hot tub. He often dared me to do things, like let him pour 2 liters of water down my throat to see how much I could consume straight without choking, or holding my head under water (with my consent) to amaze his friends how long I could hold my breath (I would flail my arms like I was struggling, but we had a signal to bring me up when I was ready). Point is, by now I had learned my lesson from other bumps and bruises to be a little skeptical of any of his suggestions.

He pointed out an opening underneath our seats. There was a passageway around the inside of the seating. There was no way I was going to try swimming through that tunnel. He assured me that he had done it several times, but I insisted he show me.

No adults were watching. My brother had no qualms about going first. He pulled himself around the inside boards and emerged out the top of the water with a big gasp. It scared me to think of what I would do if he did get stuck. How would I pull him out. Then it was my turn. I didn’t want to look like a sissy. I swam in and got wedged at the first turn. I have a degree of claustrophobia and this about set me off into a panic. I managed to keep my composure, opened my eyes and saw where a handhold was to pull myself through. I emerged safely. I gasped for air and tears came almost simultaneously. I really thought for a moment that I was going to drown.