September 17th 2001 started out as normal as ever. It was the first PA day of the school year, so I woke up to the sun shining, and the day full of promises and possibilities. Without fail, as soon as I was done breakfast Alex showed up at my door, her scooter folded in her hand. As usual she asked me over and over again what we were going to do that day. Alexis always had an insane amount of energy, she had been in gymnastics since the age of four, and at nine was already competing in serious competitions, her coach said she was a shoe-in for the 2008 Olympics in China. She also could out swim all of the other kids, and pretty much excelled in anything physical. She was also an amazing artist, just an all around talented kid.
We began our day of fun playing in Mitchi's backyard, after begging his Mother Anne to let him take "just one day off" of homeschooling. We then made our way over to my house, because everyone knew that my Mom always made "the most" food. Of course as soon as we stepped inside it started to rain, and the three of us groaned. We had plans to go outside, but now we were stuck inside. Usually the best house to be stuck in was Alex's, since they had three couches which was the perfect amount of cushions to make an amazing fort, which is what the two of us usually did Saturday mornings after our routine Friday night sleepovers.
We made our way upstairs to my room to listen to music, it was usually a mix of Janet Jackson (Mitchi's favourite), Michael Jackson (my favourite), and Christina Aguileria (Alex's favourite). After awhile we got bored of doing that, and made our way downstairs to my basement to watch Annie (Alex's favourite movie), much to our delight my Mom ordered pizza and we had a "picnic" on the floor.
"Let's go swimming," Mitchi suggested.
"I don't know guys, I have kind of a headache," said Alexis. I just shrugged.
"I want to go swimming if you want too Mitchi," I told him, and Alexis shot me a look, god forbid I did something with her beloved Mitchi without her.
"My headache isn't too bad I'm going to come too!"
"If you're sick you should stay home," I said genuinely concerned for her well being. Alexis didn't take it as such.
"I'm FINE Chelsea," she said rolling her eyes so I immediately backed off.
The rain had subsided quite a bit by then, and after two quick stops at Alex's and Mitchi's house to get their swimsuits, we made our way to the pool with our scooters, racing each other and laughing. Just then Alexis stopped her scooter and looked stricken.
"What is it?" Mitchi asked.
"Damn! I left my ring at your house Chelsea," she said meaning the gold ring her Zeyda had bought her, which she rarely took off.
"Do you want to go back...?" I asked, and she just shook her head.
"It's fine I'll get it on the way home, or tomorrow after Shuel." Tomorrow was Rosh Hashannah so instead of going to school Alexis and I were expected to spend the day in Shuel.
We made it to the pool in no time, and right away Alex and I dove into the gigantic olympic sized pool. Mitchi however hesitated.
"I think I'm going to go into the hot tub because Susan's there," he said. Susan was a girl his age who lived in our neighbourhood.
"Okay have fun!" I said and Alexis just glared.
"Try not to...you know...come near me...I'll come find you guys later," said Mitchi, who sometimes was embarrassed to be seen with two younger girls in times like these.
"He's an ass," said Alexis after Mitchi was out of earshot.
"It's not like you're married or anything," I said and then stopped myself from saying anything further after seeing to look on my best friends face.
All of a sudden there was a huge commotion, and I looked over to see the lifeguards pulling out the rope swing, which I usually hated, but of course Alexis loved.
"COOL! Lets go!" Said Alex and I just shrugged.
"Why are you scared of that thing anyway?" she asked me, and I really couldn't explain why, it just always gave me a creepy feeling, and I would soon find out why.
We lined up, me hiding behind Alexis who pushed me in front of her.
"What was that for?" I asked, and she laughed.
"I know you too well! The minute I get on there you're going to run back into the pool, so you have to go first," she said and put her arm around me in a rare show of affection.
When it was my turn I reluctantly grabbed onto the rope, and closed my eyes.
"Come on Chels! You can do it!" Alex said cheering me on, and then off I went, and made the perfect landing back into the water.
"YOU'RE SO BRAVE! GO CHELSEA!" I heard Alexis say, and that is the last thing I remember. What happened next I have only been told by witnesses to the event.
Alexis grabbed onto the rope swing, and landed in the water, she didn't rise up, and at first I probably wasn't concerned because she usually stayed underwater for extended amounts of time just to freak me out. Soon however, I must have become concerned because I dove all the way down to the surface of the deep end, and pulled her up.
The minute she was above the surface she began screaming "MY HEAD HURTS! MY HEAD HURTS!" Which got the attention of the lifeguards, and of Mitchi, who came right over and took charge of the situation.
"Chelsea, go into the change room and get her clothes," I ran and did just that.
"Thank you, now go home, I'm going to go with Alexis in the ambulance, and I'll call you later okay?"
Not surprising, but at this point I was shaking and crying as Alexis continued to scream.
"It's going to be okay Chelsea, it's going to be fine, don't cry Alexis is going to be okay," said Mitchi as he hugged me tight.
I don't remember how I got home, or even what happened once I got there, I just remember knowing deep down that everything wasn't going to be okay.