Just Four Letters

Why am I here? I thought. It must be something special because all of my mom’s side of the family is here. Some came from New Hampshire and New Jersey. We had two grandparents, four aunts, four uncles, my mom and dad, nine cousins, my two sisters and I all dressed up and stuffed in a restaurant for some reason I didn’t know of. My Uncle Terry tapped his fork against a glass to get our family’s attention. He said, “We have all gathered here to celebrate Jean and Tom’s 50th anniversary. (My grandparents) As a present, all of the family got you guys a pretty cool gift.” My grandparents asked where it was. Uncle Terry explained how we couldn’t bring the gift here and said, “We got you a trip to Jamaica and we are all going with you!” My grandparents grew ecstatic. I had no idea what Jamaica was. I was only six and had no knowledge of anything outside my everyday life. I was surprised to find Jamaica was not only a tropical island, but something I will always remember.
We stayed at a fancy resort. The hotel had steaming hot tubs, refreshing pools, live entertainment, life size chess games and many more luxuries awaiting that could help anyone relax. The water was so clear that you could see through it. When I first saw the water from the airplane I thought there was something wrong with it. I asked my mom, “Is this water polluted?” She said no and she asked “why?” I said “Because it is a weird color.” The she told me how there was more polluted water at home than here. There was a new adventure every day. The first day we settled into our rooms since it was already mid-day when we arrived. In the room there were two beds, a rug, a table and that was about it. They wanted to make the room as authentic as possible. The next day we explored the resort, and went in the pools and hot tubs. They were cool. The resort was a sight to see. It was right on a soft, sandy beach. The resort had buffets, bars, and a stage for shows.
The second day we went snorkeling. The coral reefs were so jagged and dangerous. I just had to touch them. So I did and I got cut pretty badly. The fish had colors so vivid and bright. A couple of the fish looked like the ones from “Finding Nemo”. I saw a sting ray and a starfish. They all looked so happy. The third day we went on something called a banana boat which is a banana shaped raft attached to the back of a real boat and you ride around on it. Sometimes people fall off and it’s funny. We also went water skiing that day. Even though I was only six and had never gone water skiing before, I was good. I stood up on my first try. My family was amazed and cheered me on. I loved it. It was a thriller. The next day we went to a place called Rick’s Café. It wasn’t anything special just a small and casual marketplace. There were also cliffs to jump off of into a body of water. There was a 15 foot cliff and a 40 foot cliff. My older cousin ran over and jumped off the 40 foot cliff like it was something he did every day. I was frightened so I was going to jump off the 15 foot cliff. When I arrived, the rock below my feet was wet and slimy like a snake. I poked my head over the edge. I saw jagged rocks right below the cliff. If I didn’t jump far enough, I would be seriously injured. My heart sank. I wanted to jump, but my feet wouldn’t move. My mind said “JUMP!” My feet disagreed. I was in a pickle. I realized I couldn’t do it. All because of that moment when my fear of heights originated. When I was three, I climbed out of my crib. I reached the top of the crib and flipped over the other side. I landed on my face. I had to go to the hospital to get stitches. I cried for hours on end, never wanting to go up high again. I snapped back to real time. I thought maybe I could make up an excuse. I said “Dad, these are my only clothes I have.” I don’t want to get the car wet when we go back.” I thought how clever that was. My dad replied, “Okay, let’s go get you a change of clothes. So we entered Rick’s café and bought some clothes.
Now it was time to come up to fear itself, and stare it in the face. I walked down to the 15 foot cliff in a shirt that could fit a sumo and baggy shorts that could fall off when I jumped. My two older cousins were down in the water waiting for me. My feet shook and I looked down. I visualized myself getting speared by the jagged rocks. I cleared my mind. I finally got up all my courage and jumped. I made sure I jumped extra far so I wouldn’t hit the rocks, but it felt like I was suspended in mid-air forever. My eyes were glued to the water. I thought, this wasn’t going to end well. Scratch that, I knew this wasn’t going to end well. I was not frightened, but terrified. I splashed hard in the water. I had missed the rocks, but the force of gravity was strong and I left my arms hanging out so they absorbed a blow. It felt like being sucked into a vacuum cleaner. My lungs caved in. I hadn’t realized how long I was underwater. Bubbles burst out of my mouth. I ascended to the surface, gasping for air. My cousins took me by the arm and helped me out of the water and onto the staircase. I thought, wow I did it! I felt on top of the world. I then remembered that quote that I was told, “Why should I fear fear.” Fear is just a four letter word. I finally had come to understand the meaning of that quote. It means once you overcome a fear and you look back, it looks like nothing.





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