|Source: Norman Rockwell|
I'd done it a million times before. It was easy. Just climb the ladder, wait in the line, get the go-ahead, walk to the end of the board, and jump. Before my swimming lesson I'd told my mum and Aaron, a boy she was looking after (a year older than me and a bit of a nemesis), that I'd jump off the diving board during the free time at the end of the lesson. Now it was here and I fast-walked-not-ran from the edge of the deep pool to the tall ladder. Climbing up the rungs this time was the same as every other. Wet, slippery. I didn't want to fall, so I clutched the rails as I climbed. Reaching the top, I got in the line for the stationary diving board and waited for the few children ahead of me to jump. Then it was my turn. I walked carefully to the edge of the board. Then I looked over to the observation area on my left, just a little bit higher up than I was, where my mum and Aaron sat waiting for me to finish my lesson. There they were. I smiled, then looked out over the edge of the board. The water below me churned as the child, who had just left the bouncing diving board next to me, splashed into the waves that had just been starting to smooth out from the child before. Suddenly I was scared. I'd never been scared to jump from the diving board before, but now I was over-thinking. What if I slipped just as I was about to jump and fell off the board? What if I jumped wrong and landed painfully? Realizing the line behind me was growing longer, I turned and hurried to the back of the platform. "I'll go in a minute," I said to the kid in front of me. When the line was empty I tried again. And again I stood at the end of the board, wanting to jump to prove to Aaron that I could jump from that height, that I was brave. But try as I might, I just could not get up the courage to jump. Defeated, I turned around again, and quickly scrambled back down the ladder. Then I jumped from the small diving board instead. And I never again climbed up the high dive.
In my teens I went cliff jumping once, after much convincing, in Belize and immediately realized that I do not enjoy the feeling of free-fall. Could that have been the reason for my fear of jumping that day years before? I don't know, but since then I've stuck to taking the pictures when people jump off tall objects into the water far below. My stomach is much happier that way!
--------------------My musings on the prompt 'jump' for Five Minute Friday. Join in next week if you feel inspired!