Rebecca Wells--The Staged Rescue 汉译
Much of the Ya-Yas’ time on the creekbank was spent chatting, dozing, reapplying their sun-grabbing tincture, and keeping an eye on us. They took turns being responsible for watching us as we splashed, dove … floated, and fought in the creek water. The Ya-Ya who was on watch could only keep one foot in the conversation because she had to concentrate on how many heads were visible in the creek. Altogether there were sixteen of us Petites Ya-Yas. Necie had seven kids, Caro had three—all boys. Teensy had a boy and girl. And then there were four of us. Every half hour, the Ya-Ya in charge would stand up, look out at the water, and blow a whistle hanging from an old costume jewelry necklace. At the sound of the whistle, we immediately had to stop whatever we were doing and count off.
Each of the Peties Ya-Yas had an assigned number, and the Ya-Yas had an assigned number, and the Ya-Ya on watch would listen for our voices as we called them out. Once we were all accounted for, we could resume our playing, and that Ya-Ya, her half-hourly job done, could settle down on the blanket. Although the ladies did not stop drinking while they were on lookout, it must be said that not one of us Petites Ya-Yas spent on the creek.
At least twice a summer, Mama would make one of us pretend to be drowning in Spring Creek so she could practice her rescue technique. Mama learned how to rescue drowning people long before we were born. She got recertified by the Red Cross every three years, but proclaimed it her responsibility to test herself every single summer. We begged and screamed and fought to be the drowning victim. We loved special attention.
Basically, what you had to do was swim to the deep end and bob up and down in a panic, flailing your arms and screaming like you were about to take your last breath before sinking.
Mama would be up on the creekbank as planned. She’d be wearing her shorts and camp blouse over her swimsuit, and as soon as she heard your screams, she’d raise her hands to her eyes to block the glare. Then she’d scan the horizon like an Indian princess, and spot you. Even as she was searching, she’d start ripping off her blouse and shorts, and kicking off her tennis shoes. Then she’d run to the edge of the creekbank and plunge into the water, employing one of her famous shallow lifeguard dives. At the sight of Mama’s leap, you would quiet down a little and watch her swim, fast and sure, to the spot where you were drowning.
When she’d reach you, she’d shout, “Flail more! Dahlin! Flail more!” And you’d flap your arms harder and kick and scream with increased vigor. Then, with great assurance, Mama would hook her hand under your chin, lean your head back against her chest, and begin the rescue, using her mighty inverted scissors kick to propel the two of you through the water in short little bursts.
Once back on the sandbar, Mama would lean over you with her ear to your chest. Then she’d feel around in your mouth with her fingers to make sure there was nothing blocking your throat. After that began the most dramatic component of the rescue: mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The Kiss of Life. Or as we called it, “mouth-to-mouth re-Vivificatioin.” This was the crucial part of the rescue attempt, which could mean the difference between life and death. She’d clamp your nostrils together, put one hand on your chest, and begin to breathe into you. She’d breathe, then pump your chest with her plan, then breathe again. Then, when she was satisfied, Mama would stand up, her hands on her lips, her hair slicked back like a mermaid-lifeguard, and announce with a proud smile, “You were about a goner, Dahlin, but now I think you’ll make it.”
Occasionally the staged rescue would scare one of the little kids, who did not understand that it was pretend. So Mama had gotten in the habit of inviting each Petites Ya-Ya to lean over you, the rescued one, to feel the breath coming out of your nostrils. After the last kid had been reassured, everyone would start clapping. Then Mama would jump on one foot, shake the water out of her ears, and say, “Knew I hadn’t lost my touch.”