Back at school…

Last week I spent four days at school attending a Writer’s Workshop lead by Teachers College staff developers.  It was a great learning-filled week and an opportunity to work on some writing.  Here’s a small moment piece I worked on—

A Summer Memory–

I stood at the bottom of the ladder and looked up.  My hands grasped the metal poles and I began to slowly climb.  Hand, foot, hand, foot.  Up. Up. Up.  Finally, I reached the top and gingerly stepped out onto the board.  It stretched out before me, a long, thin, blue plank.  I inched my way outward, my arms stiff at my sides.  Bit by bit I walked farther away from the ladder and out toward the edge.  I felt the bumps of the coarse board under my bare feet.  As I moved, the board began to gently bob up and down with my footsteps.  I took a deep breath and continued.

Finally, my toes curled over the edge of the board–the high diving board–and I peered cautiously down, down, down to the water far, far below.  The brilliant afternoon sun glinted off the pool, making my eyes water.  The elastic band of my swimsuit twisted and cut into my shoulders, but I didn’t dare move to adjust it.  The board jiggled and bobbed as I balanced and my toes gripped it even tighter.  My heart pounded and I swallowed hard.  What was I doing up here???

“Come on!  You can do it, Molly!” my mom called encouragingly.  She stood patiently by the side of the pool.  Meanwhile, Dan, the lifeguard, was treading water, also far, far below me.  “Come on, Molly!  I’m right here if you need me,” he called.

I wanted to do this but still I hesitated.  It was a long way down!  A r-e-a-l-l-y, long way!  Behind me a line formed at the base of the ladder.  Kids watched me impatiently, waiting for their turns, eager to jump and dive, but I was stuck, wanting to jump yet fearing to do so.  Why was this so hard?  It was only a jump off the high dive!  Everyone else did it so easily.  “Come on, Molly!  You can do it!” I repeated to myself urgently.

Down below, my mom sweetened the deal.  She’d already promised me a chocolate milkshake if I jumped off the board.  Now she called out, “Molly, if you jump, you can have two chocolate milkshakes.” Two milkshakes!  I loved milkshakes, but at this point, the allure and promise of chocolate milkshakes, even two of them, seemed pretty feeble.  I was scared from the tip of my cramping toes to the top of my sun-warmed head.  On the other hand, I still wanted to do this…or at least to have done it.   What was  I going to do?  I had to make a decision–jump or retreat– and I had to decide soon.  

“Come on, Molly!  You can do this!”  Impatient with my own hesitation, I gathered myself and focused, blocking out the sounds–the impatient kids calling out from the foot of the ladder, the laughs and splashes of kids playing, loud calls of “Marco”  “Polo”,  my mom and Dan’s encouraging comments.  Come on Molly!  You can do it!

I stood alone at the end of the diving board, bobbing gently, toes gripping, heart pounding.  Again I looked down at that crystal blue water far, far below.  I took a deep breath, closed my eyes… and jumped.


2 thoughts on “Back at school…

  1. Beth says:

    I vividly remember that day!! Jamie and I were so ticked off that you got bribed to jump off the high dive.


  2. Ellen says:

    Mom gave you two milkshakes! No way! So unfair. Really, I loved reading this, Molly. I liked your description of being “impatient with your own hesitation”–I know that feeling!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s