#109 The Deep End

by Paul Liadis

I’m standing on the diving board (the big high one, not the low baby one). My toes dangle over the edge. My knees are bent. I’m brave.

Dad told me the stuff that goes into a black hole gets crushed into a tiny point at the center. This is called a singularity. Nothing can escape. No star died in the bottom of the deep end of the pool. I can escape.

I’m almost six and a half. This is important. Dad won’t let me jump off the diving board into the deep end even though little kids do it all the time. Three-year-olds, even.

But Dad can’t watch me always. I have a little brother, and sometimes little brothers have to pee. And little brothers can’t go to the bathroom on their own.

I’m looking at the water, on the highest high dive ready for lift-off. I’m not scared. Just waiting because.

The lifeguard sees me. He’s climbing down his big tall chair, blowing his whistle. He’s a big kid. Probably too big to remember what it’s like to be little. This is not good news.

I pinch my nose and close my eyes and spring on the board high in the air, just like the Olympics.

They drag me from the cold, my eyes red and stingy, not from the water, but because I could have touched the bottom.

Dad says we’re never swimming here again. I don’t care. It’s the last day of Summer, anyways. I am brave.

16 comments:

Shari Green said...

I love this! Love how it comes full cirle to "I am brave". And even with so few words, there's great tension. Well done! :)

strugglingwriter said...

Thank you Shari ;)

Sarah Hina said...

Wonderful, Paul.

Her courage is a sunbeam.

Writer Jodi Moore said...

Such power, heart and emotion in such a short story...in such a small child! Love! :)

strugglingwriter said...

Thank you Sarah and Jodi. :)

Flutterby said...

Really good suspense and I'm SO glad it didn't have a sad ending. You characterized the child's mind really well in the way that they do things they shouldn't for reasons that make perfect sense to them.

strugglingwriter said...

Thanks Flutterby. I don't really do sad endings. Besides, there has been enough carnage already :)

Evan said...

Very nice work. I like the sense of of finality to the 'I am brave' line very much.

--Evan aka Entry #96

SzélsőFa said...

hi,
i re-read it again and liked it again :)

Precie said...

I love this voice! And the child's indomitable will, even as the parent in me is terrified. Nicely done!

strugglingwriter said...

Precie - Thank you. This is based heavily on my daughter, so yeah, it scares me sometimes too.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Beautiful piece. You really got in her head and expressed her thought pattern well.

Danielle Gembala said...

I could tell immediately it was a child, and I empathized with her. I think I remember doing something fairly similar at that age. Nice use of the imagery of a singularity, too.
(Danielle: Post #138, http://ddmgembala.wordpress.com/)

Precie said...

Oh, you poor, poor man.

Catvibe said...

Based on your daughter? Yikes! And how old is she? Excellently written, I hope you get her high dive lessons. :-)

strugglingwriter said...

She's six. She's just always been a no fear type of person. She's also really smart (that bit about the black hole is something I could hear her reading then telling me about), reading at a 5th grade level, etc. A good, yet dangerous combination. This is obviously embellished, but how I imagine the thought process in her head. :)

Paul