But Mother, I Don’t Want to Grow Up

A young girl steps up onto a diving board. She is wearing a faded pink one-piece that fits three years’ too small. She tugs at the wedgie and takes another step forward. The board shakes. Slow steps, baby steps, keep your eyes down so you do not slip. She feels as though the board is getting narrower and narrower the further out she goes.

Finally, she reaches the end. Her toes wrap over the edge, gripping to keep steady as the board continues to wobble. Her eyes are now fixed on the water. The white and blue bottom tile pattern is distorted through the ever-moving surface. Already, she is thinking of how it will feel at the bottom: the pressure against her ears and hair over her eyes. Fearing the icy plunge, she pauses and cherishes the warmth from the sun that is still kissing her dry backside. Her fluffy white towel is draped over the beach chair assembled nearby: neatly folded and left out by her mother.

She reconsiders, but soon realizes that it would be more frightening for her to walk backwards where she can no longer see. There is no way for her to retreat, no way for her  to change her mind.

The only way back to that towel is forward and forward means jumping. Up, then down. The little girl pushes all thoughts out of her head and as a result that hesitation is now gone. Giving it up, she closes her eyes and leaps forward.

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