Thursday, May 8, 2008

The High Dive

I remember the first time I went off of the high dive.

I was 8 and it was mid-July. I loved to swim and that was probably my favorite part of going to camp every year. We got to swim 2 days during the week. My mom, Aunt Faith, and Aunt Shana were working at camp that year and my mom finally said that I was old enough to go and jump by myself. Of course, being 8 years old, I didn't want to go alone, and tried to convince the lifeguards to let my Aunt Shana jump with me. They wouldn't, but she assured me that she would be on the low dive, right next to me, when I jumped. My mom and Aunt Faith were going to watch from the other side of the pool.

The lines at the camp pool are always ridiculously long and I waited in line for what seemed like hours, although it was probably more like five minutes. I climbed the tall ladder and reached the top of the diving board platform. I felt invincible, looking out over the entire pool. There were railings at the base of the platform, so I wouldn't fall and hurt myself. Nothing could get me there. Slowly and confidently I made my way past the bars. At this point I was getting anxious because the bars were no longer there to protect me. Finally I reached the foot of the board. I was millimeters away from plunging into the cold water below me, and all of the sudden, became very frightened. I stood there, petrified for about a minute, although it seemed much longer. I wanted to turn and go back down the ladder and be safe on the ground again. But I couldn't.

Soon, the line behind me grew restless and the girls started yelling, "Come on, jump, little girl!" And my Aunt Shana was at the edge of the low dive, telling me she would jump with me. Finally, when I couldn't stand it anymore, I looked at my mom and aunt across the pool and at my aunt next to me, and I did it.

I jumped.

Over the past few months, I have been standing by the railing, safe and comfortable, and afraid to go anywhere, fearing that I would fall if I went past the bars. The past couple days, I have inched my way to the foot of the board, wishing that I could turn back and not risk anything. Tonight, I did it. I looked down into the water, terrified, closed my eyes, and I jumped.

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