Into Rough Waters


I’m going to be in so much trouble if my dad sees me.

The bridges supports loomed in front of me. Its cool water below promising relief from the heat wave we were experiencing.

Kids of all ages climbed its tall steel beams, yelling back and forth to one another,

“go you chicken!”

“NO, you go first, I’m no chicken!”

Bodies leapt from its tallest points and crashed into the water below.

Those brave enough stood atop the damn’s retaining wall, the water crashing around their feet, looking down for the perfect hole that they knew was there.

Sam is here! He’s so cute!

The water washed over with power. A force that would pull under the strongest swimmer but this didn’t stop kid after kid, my friends, from lining up on the concrete block and jumping off.

Bodies disappearing and then reappearing from the hole.

I’m brave, and Sam is here, I have to jump, I have to show him I can do it! Then we’ll have something to talk about.

Adrenaline pumped through my body as I swam over to the concrete platform. Climbing up I met with my younger brother, who had jumped off of this suddenly intimidating rock several times.

“Just stay in the calm water.” He yelled over the roar of the waterfall.

“Shut up! Just tell me where to jump!” I screamed back! I was older, therefore, I knew best.

He pointed down, towards a spot where the water swirled together, he told me that was the deep spot, a spot with no rocks. I had to jump exactly there. If I went off even a little bit I would get hurt.

My knees felt weak. I looked around and saw my crush.

I swore he was looking my way.

God I hate this bathing suit! Why can’t I be skinnier?

“Hurry up, just go!” Kids were lining up to jump. Brave kids.

I leapt.

I crashed through the rough waters.

Hitting the rocks hurt worse than I expected.

The ridged edges cut into my legs and arms and my knees scraped against jagged forms.

My head hit hard.

I emerged after what seemed like years but was only seconds.

No one noticed.

No one but my brother.

On the walk home, blood covered and sore I noted it was my pride that hurt.

Why didn’t Sam rush to my side? Like he did in my imagination. Where did he go?

The overwhelming embarrassment hit harder than the water had.

I should have stayed where I was safe. Where my heart was safe. In the calm water.


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