– Go on then, jump.
– It’s too far, at least ten meters, and the water is too shallow, she answered. It’s not possible.
– Sure it is; I’ve done it several times. Everyone from around here has done it.
I’m not from around here though, am I? She wanted to state, but kept the sentence inside her mind. Not that it mattered much anyway, it wasn’t because she had grown up in the other side of town that her heart raced and palms began to sweat by the mere thought of taking the leap into the water. It was because she was a coward; or perhaps not a coward, but there wasn’t a possibility for her to go through with something where she didn’t have complete control – where unexpected things might happen.
Only imagining having to let go made her skin prickle, and goose bumps appeared on her naked arms.
– Come on! What are you waiting for?
He had already climbed over the rail, and was balancing on the narrow edge. Just like that, he had defied the protective obstacle society had put there for our safety, and it didn’t bother him in the slightest. Neither did balancing – in his trunks and pale, freckled skin, the not yet fully grown body seemed as relaxed as it would on a Sunday walk.
– I’ll help you climb over, give me your hand.
His whole face was a mischievous smile. Somehow, his reassurance increased her insecurity. She wanted to believe him, she wanted to let go – but she couldn’t.
– You know what, let’s not do this. Can’t we go to the lake at my place tomorrow instead? She asked with a weak voice.
– You don’t have to be afraid. Just take my hand.
He reached over, touched her arm and waited for her cold fingers to respond. Not certain how, they suddenly grabbed a hold of his. He pulled her closer, and somehow managed to lift her over the rail without falling backwards.
Just as her feet reached the metal edge, a man on a bicycle rode by; staring, for a second, at the two young teenagers in their swimsuits, balancing on the wrong side of a bridge rail, one of them terrified – but then decided to pedal faster instead of stepping on the breaks, and disappeared as suddenly as he had showed up.
They were very close. Her heart beat like a drum. Ba bum. She met his eyes. Ba bum. They had always been blue, but in the afternoon sun they almost glowed. Ba bum. She squeezed his hand harder.
– I can’t…
Her heart was going to stop, her mind explode, her body shut down and die from the fear and panic bubbling up inside her.
He placed his other hand on her cheek, whispered:
– Take the leap.
And they jumped.