The Diving Board

I stand on the edge of the diving board,
feeling it wobble, 
and bounce beneath me. 
"Face your fears," they said. 

Below me, 
the water calls out. 
"What if you hurt yourself?" 
"What if you embarrass yourself?" 

I push the fear away. 
My knees bend, 
ready to jump, 
but I freeze. 
I can't. 
I won't. 

I sit on the edge of the diving board, 
my feet dipping into the anxious water, 
my heart pounding a rapid beat. 

I take my feet out of the water, 
and the fear drips off my foot, 
back into the water, 
from where it came. 

Once again, I stand on the edge of the diving board. 
I bend my knees, 
preparing for liftoff. 
But before my feet can leave the board, 
I'm pushed into the water. 

I'm stuck. 
The water crashes around me, 
voices yelling. 
"What will happen to you on the first day of school?" 
"What if people make fun of you?" 
What if, what if, what if. 

I'm drowning. 
I wasn't ready. 
Something pushed me off the edge, 
and I wasn't ready for this. 
The water starts to suffocate me. 

As my lungs give out, 
a hand shoots into the water, 
and I grab it with the little energy I have left. 
I'm saved. 

I walk away from the diving board, 
knowing I'll be back again some day. 
But for now, 
I leave the board behind me.

-- Charlotte W., 9th-12th Grade