Jump! This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I stood there, high above everyone else, looking down. The water was a clear, icy, blue. I stood shivering, ten feet up, on the diving board.

"I don't want to do it, " I said.

I could not understand myself. The previous year I had been able to jump off the diving board. I had been scared, but the exhilaration I had felt afterwards had made it worthwhile. This time, as part of my intermediate swimming class, my teacher wanted everyone to jump off the pool's high diving board. I wanted to, also, but I just could not make myself do it.

"Push me," I implored.

I knew that once I was off the board I would enjoy my descent, but I could not bring myself to take that one big step. My swimming teacher was merciless. For some incomprehensible reason he saw it as his duty to quell my fear of heights. He could not seem to understand that by forcing me to stand there, he was just making me more and more fearful of the rapid descent. He kept me ten interminable minutes after class trying to convince me in any way he could think of that I had to jump. If I had not been the one standing there, high above the water, I might have thought the situation was humorous, but at that moment the only emotions I felt were fear of what I was supposed to do, and anger that I had to do it.

Finally I won, or did I? I did not jump, and I have not jumped off a high diving board in the four or five years since that day. I am sure I would enjoy it as I once did, but that experience terminated any excitement or desire I ever had to jump off that board. Perhaps if I had jumped then, I would not be apprehensive now. Someday maybe I will get up the courage to take that big jump...maybe not! n


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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