A Leap of Faith

March 24, 2009
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A cool mist coated the pool as the sun peaked over the horizon. The moist August heat was enveloping. A slight figure stood there, frozen in a daunting shadow. He gazed up at it, transfixed in apprehension. Fear and danger coursed through his mind like a raging river. The boy recalled last week. He had reached the corroded metal handle and seized it for a mere second. Holding back a scream, he let its harsh, metal chill seep into his core. Then, he had rushed back, quivering from head to toe. He didn’t understand how all the other kids could do it. Even though he wanted to with all his heart, just thinking about it made his body grow limp. What made it so hard? Why couldn’t Davy Bekendorf jump off of the high dive?

The sun was high in the sky when Davy returned to his house. His mother glanced reproachfully at him but he just parked himself at the kitchen table. Mrs. Bekendorf brought out Davy’s usual peanut butter sandwich. He didn’t finish it. He never did. Then he set off to Martin’s house. They both sat on the end of Martin’s bed and discussed various unimportant things like last nights’ episode of the “Dark Avenger” or what they would do this weekend. At 5:58, Davy would rush home just in time for dinner. He would watch his favorite TV shows and then ease his way onto his bed. He would usually wake up halfway through the night, drenched in sweat after a chilling nightmare. That was his usual routine and each day he carried it out without hesitation.

Some days later, water poured from the gloomy sky. Davy stared out the window. Martin was away and the pool was closed. There was absolutely nothing to do. He padded dolefully over to the couch and plunked down. Sleep welcomed him into its beckoning arms. Suddenly, sirens pierced the still air. Davy rushed to the top of the stairs but paused as a giant man with a jet black hat on stomped into the entryway. Mr. and Mrs. Bekendorf hovered inquiringly in the hall.

“What’s the matter, Officer?” queried Davy’s dad.

“It is my sad but solemn duty to inform you that your son, Elliot James Bekendorf was found dead at 1:13 this morning.” replied the Officer in a cheerless monotone.

Mrs. Bekendorf fell to the ground in shocked horror as Mr. Bekendorf stared disbelievingly into the Officer’s expressionless face.

“But … how?” Mr. Bekendorf managed to choke out.

“He jumped off the high dive at the local pool. As you know, at this time of the year the pool is emptied and, well…” murmured the policeman.

“It is believed that he was under the influence.” he continued after a substantial pause.

Davy screeched in terror and bolted up, covered in a cold sweat. A few second later, his mother rushed in with a compress and a glass of water. She stroked his hair and softly uttered some soothing words. It was customary, even normal for Davy to have these dreams. After all, that night in December was a traumatizing experience for the whole family. He had promised his father that night that he wouldn’t let this experience stop him from diving. At that time, Davy was a championship junior diver but since then, he hadn’t set foot on the board.
Later, Davy sat hunched over his desk deep in thought. He saw himself diving off the board and plunging into the cool refreshing water. Everyone cheered as he pulled himself out of the pool and toweled off. He imagined his parents, beaming from ear to ear, their arms opened wide. His dad patted him on the head and exclaimed, “I knew you could do it, son!”
The next day, Davy headed off to the pool bright and early. He sat on the bench next to the diving board the whole day watching countless people of all ages take the plunge. He imagined again and again that he was one of those people. At 6:15, the janitor informed Davy that the pool was closing and that he better hurry home. He trudged home where his parents waited in an apprehensive worry. Assuring them that he had just lost track of time, they sat down to eat. After dinner, Davy scuttled up to his room and continued contemplating his predicament. After pondering the subject for quite a while, he came to a conclusion. Tomorrow, he would do it. He would have to make a leap of faith!
Davy woke before the sun had risen. He had an uncontrollable feeling of excitement and wonder at what he was going to do. Following a hasty breakfast, he scurried outside letting the screen door slam behind him. He flew down the road, pulling his coat closer as a cool breeze blew by. A beautiful mist covered the spacious fields as Davy darted by. He turned the corner in irrepressible exhilaration. “Clank” went the metal gate. He was astonished. The pool was usually open at 6:30 but now at seven, no one was around. Davy swiveled around in consternation. No one was in the parking lot. He turned back to the gate searching for a way into the pool. Then, he noticed a small sign placed discreetly next to the handle.

It read:

Dear members, Thank you for a wonderful summer this year the swimming and diving teams did a superb job and the pool is in great shape. See you next year.
Signed: the board of directors
His heart fell. Holding back tears he realized that today was September 1st, Labor Day. The pool was closed for the summer and wouldn’t reopen until June 21st. Now his tears fell thick and fast, little drops of fire against his bitter face. He wrenched the lock with all his might trying to pull it off. But it was no use.
The hunched, defeated figure trudged home. At the door, he wiped his tears and tried to put a smile on his face. He traipsed in through the front door and sat down on the sofa. “Never mind,” he thought to himself. Now a smile spread across his face. “There’s always next year.”

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