TheNoble Savior

Игорь ДЯДЧЕНКО | Проза

«He’s always trying to save someone, some girl, you understand …»

(Saakhov in the «Caucasian Captive»)

It’s awful how much they like to show the beach in our television commercials. The sun shines, the sea is blue, the sand is golden and young people have fun on the shore and in the water: the girls are so slim, slender and beautiful, their swimsuits so tight that they are barely noticeable, while the boys are characteristic — not athletes, but well built and unkempt. In a word — an ideal, paradise like life of continuous happiness.

I actually grew up by the sea and, of course, I also enjoyed sunbathing on the beach in my time, since our house was so close. I liked swimming and of course, playing volleyball on the sand and all that.

However, I must note (unfortunately, none of our beach advertisements address this topic and do not show it for some reason) that all of life’s enjoyment, including the enjoyment we have on the beach, even on a sunny day has a shady side.

For example, a man who wants to swim and sunbathe on the beach, no matter how built, athletic and good looking he may be on the shore, if he goes into the sea, then, at the very least, he should be able to swim well (people may say: wow, dear, you made a discovery, all people who are in shape and good looking are swimmers!). But at most (maybe this is the most important thing on the beach) — it is very desirable to be able to perform first aid for water accidents on your neighbor, because the sea does not like jokes. And unfortunately, neither in advertising, nor in school, nor in the institute (not even in the seaside city where I studied) they have never spoken about this before, and now for some reason they keep quiet. And silence is not always golden, it can have a different meaning.

And, God forbid, if your ever in a situation to save someone drowning, then in addition to your noble impulse (which in itself looks very beautiful), it is necessary to have some skills that are simple yet may be absolutely necessary for such a noble act, otherwise the result will like in one famous poem:

«The order is executed. There is no one rescued.»

The poem is, of course, very good and I like it very much, there’s no doubt about it; only the speech in it is nevertheless about war, about people in an abnormal state, and in our peaceful, normal time it is preferable to save someone.

Moreover, it should be noted that a young man who grew up by the sea, at a certain age, terribly wants to save someone, to take on the raging elements with his courageous hands. Not bad, of course, if the rescued (and even better — saved), is be young and interesting. In this case, if you save a drowning guy, you will get the most faithful friend for life, but if you save a girl who may happen to be pretty, then everything is clear—endless gratitude and, consequently, love forever.

I remember, when I was in high school, I really wanted to save somebody from something, and the best thing would be to carry a very young goddess out of the raging waves with my own hands and return her to her happy life. When I was young, I noticed, people were more often drawn to noble deeds, which is great. However, real life always turns out to be somehow duller and more prosaic than any romantic dream

Anyone who lived by the sea for even a short time has probably noticed that people drown most often when there is not a storm (in bad weather only idiots go swimming — no fun). But usually the next day, or maybe the third day after the storm (especially if it was strong), when the storm has ceased, the sun warms the sand and sea water so gently and only the echo of the last storm remains in nature — a rare large wave (sailors call it a «swell»). Almost completely without wind, a wave time after time still beats and strikes the shore with great force. Here on these rare, large waves, some people, seemingly in shape, athletic and strong people, like to ride. Even those who can hardly swim go under these waves so that, dizzy and swollen, the waves throw the people back onto the shore. Riding a swell after a storm takes courage and skill, of course dexterity, the ability to swim well – and who knows what else. The people on the beaches after storms are all very bold (everyone one of them!) and, sometimes, very self-confident: how is it, that the others are being tossed around so much, am I really worse than they are — still get into the water, in the very whirlpool and many such daring acts, unfortunately, come out cockeyed…

I remember one day, after a severe storm, a heavy roll hit the whole shore. It was an amazing sight: a sunny August day, there was no a breeze in the air, but heavy brown-green waves, straining, seemingly from a mirror-like faraway water, continually crashing onto the sand blow after blow.

If you grew up by the sea, you know this weather, you know its nature and when you are in the water you try to swim cautiously, closer to the bank, where the waves are weaker and not overpowering. In general, when the coast is calm — when the roll goes back into the sea, it pulls back to deeper water, it’s better to keep your feet on the solid bottom…

On that distant day, I remember, I was forced to be doubly cautious: the elastic in my old swimming trunks was bad and several times, riding on the breakers, I had to hold the trunks with my hand, so that they would not sail away without the owner — then how would I be able to go back to shore?

Soon I notice two girls beside me, probably riding the same swell I am. They come riding up like mermaids, so pretty — wet, smiling, I would love to get acquainted. One is younger, about fifteen, probably, and the other is just my age. They stand, like me, in a boiling foam, laughing, wiping wet faces, happy, just like in advertisements for seaside resorts. And while we looked at each other with interest (I was still an attractive guy back then — tall, slim, shaggy – just like what they love to show on TV), another hefty wave crept up unnoticed and pasted the three of us, then turned and went somewhere.

I popped up, spitting, and looking around. I saw, one of the girls, the one who was very young at the shore trying to get on her feet but she could not – you could see that the wave had scared her while the other girl was nowhere to be seen. Looking around, I dodge one wave successfully and find myself at the shore, next to the girl. And suddenly she grabs my hand:

«Look,» she cries, «she’s drowning, she’s drowning!»

I look in the direction she is pointing and see that the older girl had been carried off by a wave that was already so far away from the coast that she could not reach the bottom. Diving here and emerging there, spitting in all directions, her eyes are frightened. That’s how all idiots drown in peacetime on a sunny day!

I run along the shallows and jump straight into the coming wave. It is so strong that my swimming trunks instantly fly from one foot  to the other, and are only held on one leg, behind the knee so that I could not put them on – I try to adjust them – then the wave take me back to the shore, away from the sinking girl. While I swim to her, again became three-quarters naked, only one leg turns out partially dressed but I cannot do two things at once. The girl is suddenly close (did the wave bring her to me?), and as I look, the face is white, with bubbles already starting up out of her mouth.

Oh — I think – there’s not time for clothing, I need to save a person! I bend my leg with an acute angle, to keep somehow the escaping trunks with me, and go towards her. I swim up – she (she’s an idiot) clings to me, and we almost sink to the bottom. Out of fear, her little hands became like steel tongs, clinging to me, an idiot, with all her might, not allowing me to swim. Somehow, I push her head under my armpit, to be at her back, wrap around her back with one hand just at her throat, and with the other hand, I slowly shovel. Then I realize that she was screaming at the top of her voice, although at first I do not hear it because of the noise of the water. Okay, I think, screaming — or not screaming, we moved on steadily.

While we swam to the shore, I was so cold that I completely lost my sense of the trunks on my leg-whether they were there, or not. And I couldn’t touch: my hands are busy with the most noble thing on earth, one dragging the person who was sinking from the mouth of death and the other one pushing through the water, keeping us from drowning

Finally, we find ground, here it is already possible to somehow get on a firm bottom and take a breather. I begin to stand firm, trying to tear her tense arms off of myself, and in my head, despite the cold, the pictures of gratitude, one more surprising, flicker-all the same, whatever you say, I saved her life, the first time in my life. I had truly performed a noble act, not regretting to give my life away!

Just at this moment, the devil’s wave from the shore returns to the sea, boiling over us and all the way down, I see the water falling, it already reaching halfway up my thighs. I look unintentionally down and am stupefied – I am standing absolutely naked, as we were told, «without a single piece of clothing,» and squeezing frightened girl, like a moron. And she, too, looks down and pushes me in the chest, straight in the air pocket, me — her savior! That’s what she called thanks … So I fall plop into the water. As I fall, I immediately feel my trunks on my knee-bend, meaning they did not float away, thank God!

While I was fixing them in place (the cursed rubber band was completely weakened, I had to hold it with my hand), the beautiful girl I had rescued from certain death ran to the beach. I saw her saying something to her younger friend with fervour. She points at me and twists her little finger at her temple; I do not know who she thought I was… Then, I saw, they — took their sundresses, bedding, flip-flops and ran upstairs to the quay — only there did they finally get dressed. But they did not look at me, their savior and did thank me for my heroic deed. The only joy was — the police did not come to take me and thank me for saving the girls from drowning…

A few years later, I remember, I once told the mates in the sports section about my experience of saving the drowning people. Guys, of course, laughed, and the coach who was at that moment nearby, an elderly man, was silent for a while, sighed and finally sympathetically said:

«They could have been beaten you up in the heat of gratitude for such salvation.» It’s no joke, a maniac on the beach…

And then some people wonder why we cannot tolerate advertising (and especially about the beach) – everything there is too beautiful, romantic and elegant, while in real life, it’s duller by an entire sea mile.

1971 — 2017г.г.

About the author:

Igor Dyadchenko, was born in 1953 in Stavropol. He is a member of the Union of Russian Writers. Author of 166 (including 109 tales and short stories) publications. Co-author of 28 books and collections (stories on nature, hunting, sports; on life). He has been awarded 2 honorable certificates of the Union of Russian Writers. In 2012, he was awarded an honorary diploma by Herzen University.

2nd category Judo and Sambo wrestling coach. In 2009, co-authoring with another coach, he released two textbooks on self-defense.

Winner of the «Heirs of the Victory» Literary Award (2015).

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