I stood on the edge of the rock and stared down into the murky blue water. It’s taunting me. I’m thinking, “Just jump idiot!” The sun shining down highlighted the rocks layering the side and bottom, causing fear to overtake everything. I’m trying to clear my head, focusing on breathing instead of thinking. Deep down I want to jump, need to jump. Need to overcome this fear holding me back. I want Jonny to be proud. I want to not be scared.
“We should do something,” I said to my brother. He suggested we go swimming. That’s how I got here, Long Pond, somewhere my mom said was gross and to not swim. My cousin told me she swims here all the time. That didn’t reassure me.
They brought me over to a rock in front of the water and jumped off. I stood staring into the dark water, now rippling from their movements, wondering how they just jumped in. How Jonny could be in water that our mom said was gross. I couldn’t hear anything other than these thoughts. As my mind cleared, I heard Jonny say, “Just jump, it's the only way.” The fear crawled forward in my mind, clouding my hearing and vision. Looking around for another way in, I saw his girlfriend going down the side of the rock. Ignoring my brother and conflicting thoughts about the water, I followed her.
After what felt like hours of swimming, I got out to take a break. Jonny sat next to me and asked “Are you having fun?” I nodded. “You know you’d have more fun if you stopped worrying and jumped.”
I turned him down and said, “I’ll have plenty of fun without jumping.” There’s no way I’m jumping.
I got up to go back in but he stopped me and said “You have to jump to go back in. Suck it up.” I knew he wouldn’t let me go back in any other way. Fighting him was useless because he would win, like always. Looking at the rock it wasn’t high up and it was stupid to be terrified.
“I’m deathly afraid of heights Jonny. I can’t do it, I’m too scared.” He replied “The rock isn’t that high. Nothing happened when Megan and I did it. Stop being a baby!” This didn’t help. Deep down I wanted to jump, overcome this fear and make him proud.
I backed up the rock, mentally preparing to jump. I ran forward but stopped at the last minute. Hearing Jonny groan from behind me and Megan laugh from the water, I felt like crying. I wanted to jump. I just couldn’t, the fear was too overwhelming. I sat back down, feeling horrible.
I figured after he realized how bad I was feeling, he would back off. I was silly to think he’d be that nice. The next words he said were, “Watch me do it again. Then you’ll do it.” I watched him jump and stood up. I ran over to the edge to jump, but stopped. Standing on the edge staring into water that taunted me. Jonny got out and said, “You’re brave. You can do it!” This gave me some courage. I smiled at him until his next words, “Stop being a big baby!” My face dropped into a glare and I backed away.
“You’re being mean. Let me go back in without jumping.” He shook his head.
“I’ll try one more time, if you hold my hand.” He grabbed my hand, counted down and ran. I jumped off the rock falling into the water. The wind cooled my skin, and I felt a rush of adrenaline as I hit the cold water. My fear disappeared. I could see the look of excitement, or maybe it was pride on Jonny’s face. At this moment I was on top of the world and fear couldn’t hold me back.
© Hannah Moore. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.