Jump

I was thinking about how I never learned to dive. 

There are terrifying things in lakes.  Water snakes slicing through the waves, and snapping turtles underneath the dock.  Creepy dock spiders.  Things that rub against your legs.  You can’t tell if it’s a weed, or a body. 

I’m standing at the end of the dock at the beach where I grew up.  I know this water is shallow but it is black and the dock is high above it.  Connie is telling me how to dive, and I already know.  Crouch, head down, arms extended, roll in.  But I am not going to do it.  I will not go into that clean blackness head-first.  I am going to untuck my body at the last minute and smash it off the water every time. 

Then there is the time she straps a PFD onto me and makes me try it off the floating dock, which is closer to the water.  I panic and get stuck upside down.  I am convinced I’m as good as drowned.

In my 20s, I go to Kellie’s cottage.  I stand at the end of the dock and consider the water.  The water in this channel is black too, but it is not shallow.  It’s the deepest, blackest water you have ever seen.  You will have nightmares about this water.  You know there is a current somewhere under there that can kill you and take you away.  You have to jump in anyway.

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