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Moon Landing This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     “Hey!” greeted my bubbly friend, Brittany. “Duane, our new youth minister, is trying to get a group together to do Habitat for Humanity next Tuesday. Do you want to come?” she asked.

“Really? I’ve always wanted to do that! Do you know what we’d be doing?” I replied with excitement.

“He said we’d be putting a roof on a house, so you can’t be afraid of heights ... I don’t think we’ll be actually doing that part, at least I hope not! I’m a little afraid of heights,” she added quietly.

“Me, too, but what’s the worst that could happen?” I asked, sarcastically.

“Fall off and die,” she retorted.

Early Tuesday (during the summer everything before noon is early), I headed to my church to meet our group of amateur carpenters. I discovered that everyone except Brittany and me had prior building experience. With mixed emotions I piled into the van and 45 minutes later we reached the site. Everyone grabbed their supplies and darted to the last house on the strip.

With the blood draining from my face, legs turning to Jell-O and palms sweating, I realized that we were going to be up on the plywood roof and putting shingles on. Although we used sunblock, I realize it wasn’t the sun I thought the lotion was going to save me from, but more time on my Mount Everest: that roof. My shaking fingers couldn’t tie the strings of the nail apron around my waist, so Chris, the maternal wife of our youth minister, did it while encouraging Brittany and me in her soothing way.

“You guys are going to be fine. You’ll be professional roofers in no time!” she promised.

One foot after the other, like a baby learning to walk, I climbed the unstable ladder, only to realize that I was trapped a story high with pointy nails around my waist and nowhere to go but down. “Closer to God,” I said to Brittany under my breath.

“Is that a good or a bad thing?” she asked.

“Sit down on the point, next to the hole until you feel comfortable,” Duane instructed. “Take as much time as you need. You’re doing awesome!” Right, I thought, I’ll be here until you’re done. I’ll be here until you get a fire team to pull me off. Feeling stupid and useless, we sat and waited for our sea legs to join us.

Looking around, I saw how the others were easily moseying across the roof and wondered how they had adjusted to the drastic change like they were walking around a basketball court. One of my peers was even carrying a five-gallon water cooler up the trembling ladder.

Puddles formed in my hands as sweat came rushing out like a stream of water from a fire hydrant. The ringing of hammer heads hitting nails echoed back at me from next door like voices in the Grand Canyon. The brief calm was abruptly interrupted by a man hollering, “Heads up!” as a 2-by-4 used as a safety ledge began its fall. Tumbling to earth in slow motion, I saw it and longed for the support it gave. Speechless, I looked at Brittany, as she looked at me.

“Well, then,” were the only words that came to me.

“You ready?” she asked, not sure how she would reply herself.

“Why not?” I answered, shaking my head “no” while nodding “yes.” I dried my hands on my jeans and reached for the peak of the roof. Its warmth beckoned me as we crouched together.

“Nurse, my hammer, please,” joked my companion as we inched toward the action.

“Get your own. I’m roofing a house,” I replied with a smile. Slowly, my body rose toward the sky while I took my first real step. Now I know how Neil Armstrong must have felt when he landed on the moon: one small step for conquering my fear, one giant leap for knowing I can.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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Seattle Lover said...
Nov. 14, 2014 at 8:05 am
Its a good story.
 
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