As I traversed the face of the rock, a small voice of doubt echoed inside of me. What if I couldn’t do it? What if I slip? I reassured myself not because I wanted to, but because I knew there was no turning back. The water below me was the same water that I spent swimming in everyday, but this time the river looked more intimidating.
The reason I had decided to take the challenge this year was because, for the first time, my friend Axel had done it. This made me feel envious when he told me about it, so I somewhat stupidly said “Hey! That’s easy! I’ll do it tomorrow!” Now the meaning of the jump was really sinking in.
“Come on! There are other people trying to get to the top,” a voice below me shouted. I gripped my hand onto a crevice and hoisted myself up, shaking from the exertion. When I finally reached the ledge, I looked down and realized something: Things look a lot higher when you are actually on top of them.
My will to jump suddenly deflated, and I was left stuck at the top a giant rock, watching my friends laugh and jump. Unfortunately, I didn’t really have a choice to back down. As I stepped up, my dad talked to me from below; he was still climbing.
“Come on Harry. If you jump, you won’t just be happy that it’s over. You will remember it for the for the rest of your life.” Reassured by his words, and egged on by the crowd, I inched forward. I looked at the trees, remembering the failed attempt to hang a slackline (a type of tightrope) from them the last time I was there.
Then I focussed, shook my head to clear my thoughts, and sprung forward. I would like to say that the impressive air time was both exhilarating and awesome, but I was closing my eyes and bracing myself for impact the whole time.
My landing was not ten out of ten stars, but when I got out of the water, I understood what my dad had said. I was not just glad that it was over, but I even wanted to do it again! The feeling of accomplishment swept through me as everyone cheered. I hoisted myself onto the small rock where everyone was standing and thought about dinner.
Later, at dinner, a fork tapping on a glass was heard from across the room. Everyone looked up, and I watched as the famed Mike stood up. Mike was famous around the small family camp for planning the most absurd activities, and a yearly competition between families. Whether it was kid bowling or zip line jumping, Mike’s activities were always full of danger and fun. His booming voice echoed across the dining room as he declared he had an announcement.
“Some of you might already know, but earlier today, for the first time, Harry jumped off Skull Rock!” Everyone cheered. I had conquered my fear of heights, and the day was just getting better.
As I was walking back to my cabin, ready to call it a night, Mike approached me.
“Hey Harry. The gang is going the the bridge tomorrow. Someone installed a rope swing, and you can jump swinging from the rock into the water. Do you want to go?”
I smiled and gave him my answer, and this time I wasn’t afraid.