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…that was the summer Pa decided I was old enough to jump from the tower next to the heart of the springs.
We had all laughed when Pa went up there, because we knew he was bothered by heights and it was funny to see him force himself to dive as though he did not care. But soon Little Bit and Digger began to jump off the tower when Pa dived. Since they were smaller, I had no choice.
When I hesitated, Pa always said he would count to three.
On “one,” I would stand with my toes over the rough-sawn edge of the boards, looking down at the clear water, ten or fifteen feet below, and think about belly flops and water up my nose and things that might grab me and keep me under. Then Pa would say “two.” “Three” meant a spanking, so I would leap before I heard it. I was not afraid of being underwater; I liked swimming underwater, with the strange mirror of the sky above me. I hated plunging toward the bottom, and I dreaded having my foot touch something unknown, something soft and oozy.
Divers had drowned down there. I could imagine skeletons in black wet suits and scuba gear, watching and smirking. When I surfaced, I always laughed, not because I had conquered my fears, but because I had survived them. -Dogland by Will Shetterly (free download)
Writing Prompt: What is your character afraid of? How does your character face his or her fears, or avoid them?
Journaling Prompt: What are you afraid of? How have you overcome fears in the past?
Art Prompt: Underwater
Photo Credit: NourishingCook on Flickr
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