It sounded so simple, so straightforward. And yet afraid was I. My feet scratched the rock-hewned cliff’s edge.
My friends already I watch them lift themselves into the air. They screamed, their cries ribald, as they launched themselves toward the flowing river ten feet below.
I watched them make a splash. I fear they’d drowned. Seconds later their heads broke the surface. Laughing. They hi-fived each other. They whooped and screeched like demi-gods.
“That was freaking awesome!”
“That was crazy . . . Smashing!”
“Let’s do it again!”
They realized someone was missing. Me. Their eyes looked up and found me still hesitant at the rocky edge, gazing down at them. They yelled my name. They cursed at me and called me names.
I wanted to turn tail. Everything spun before my eyes. My lips itched; I felt sweat run into my eyes.
I remembered my swim coach two Summers ago and his words to me when he saw me standing nervous on the swimming pool’s diving board in the school’s gym house.
“Jump,” he said to me. His voice benevolent and soothing. “Don’t think, just jump. Don’t be afraid of the water. The water will catch you.”
His words recurred in my head as I edged closer.
I held my breath as I launched myself off the cliff.
Don’t think. Don’t be afraid of the water.
I kicked my arms and feet as I fell toward earth. My heart raced with excitement.
The water will catch you.
I held my breath as I hit the water. The water caught me. I broke onto the surface and spewed water out my mouth. I felt great.
I felt alive.