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I closed my eyes, and jumped.
My hair whipped around my face as I fell through the air. The wind ripped at my bare skin as if trying to grasp me in its arms. They said I wasn’t good enough. They said I would never make it, but I’d show them.
The water hardly splashed as I broke the surface. I had executed the dive perfectly. Bubbles sprayed out of my mouth as I smiled underwater. I heard the gasps and cheers of the crowd as my head bobbed above the surface. I saw my parents standing in the front row, arms raised in applause and mouths open in screams that were drowned out by the rest of the crowd.
I raised the gold medal, allowing the cameras to take as many pictures as they wanted. I was ecstatic. I’d never been high before, but I imagined this was what it would feel like. I had won. All those hours and hours of training had paid off. I was the top woman diver in the world.
That was before the accident. At the after party my friends and I got drunk, as teenagers do. It was a great party, I remember, with everyone cheering me, screaming my name, but the fun wasn’t to last.
Claire was driving when it happened. She was drunk, and didn’t even notice as the car slipped over the centre line. It wasn’t until the last second that she noticed the truck.
I still remember her scream, just before the two vehicles collided. Even now, it rings in my ears every time I remember what happened that awful night.
I would never see Claire again, or Jake, or Harry. I was the only survivor, but even I didn’t escape without injury.
I look down at the scars on my leg where the metal of the car cut into my thigh. The ugly, jagged lines represent the bleeding wounds cut into my heart and mind.
Now all I do is sit, face blank, eyes staring. It’s the only way I can deal with what happened. Numb.
Because that’s what growing up does to you, isn’t it? You lose dreams and fears, and everything just slowly wastes away.
Trouble is, that shouldn’t happen when you’re only 18.
My hair whips around my face as I stare straight ahead. The wind claws at my skin. My face contorts as I step onto the handrail, pain lancing through my leg.
I close my eyes, and jump.