As I was wandering along the waterfront, surrounded by sun and smiles, I noticed a crowd at the end of the bridge. I already knew it would be people watching whoever was diving off the post that’s out over the water.
As I got closer I saw that it was you, trembling, your hands holding each other over your heart as if praying that the dark water below would come just a bit closer. Then, Just as I nestled in amongst the hopeful crowd, you shuffled slowly and carefully like a crab back to safety and the reassuring arms of your father.
By now the scene was already 2 dimensional for me. I was intently watching you as I relived an almost identical experience at a similar age.
At that moment, I imagined taking you aside and telling you how I couldn’t jump and that I always regretted it, but you were already following you father back out over the water.
Then as you moved to his vacant spot at the end, everyone watching stopped. They held their breaths for you. Some didn’t even realise they were holding their hands up to their hearts for you. But everyone was willing you as your family shouted out encouragement.
And you jumped.
Only a few people clapped but it seemed that everyone was moved. We all looked around proudly as if to say That's our girl!! You were our courage that day and when I watched you jump, I saw myself jump.
Then you came out of the water and straight into your father’s proud arms. I could only imagine how that must have felt.
I lingered as the crowd started moving on then, as you turned toward me, reaching down for your towel and wrapping it around you, I recognised that inconsolable smile of achievement that you couldn’t hide.
I had felt that.
When had I felt that?
Suddenly I remembered that I had jumped after all.
Years after I gave up on jumping (and, without realising it at the time, my self), our family was on holiday in the South Island. On the last day I arranged to do a tandem skydive. There were not going to be any regrets this time and as I easily drifted out of the plane, a current of courage slammed into me and like the sky wide smile it thrust upon my face, it stayed with me for the rest of the day. And it was still there, holding my hand in the following weeks as I made some decisions that saved my life.
As your family gathered their things to leave, I left too.
I continued walking, holding that image of your secret smile in my mind as I turned up the volume on this days soundtrack playing in my ears. Suddenly tears lunged forward as Leann Rimes sang “I once was lost but now I’m found. Was blind, but now I see”. I saw that even though I didn’t jump off my diving board, I had never given up hope that courage would stick around till I was ready to call on it.
Then I had to take deep breaths as I heard “... How precious did that Grace appear, the hour I first believed” and felt nauseous with the privilege of having just witnessed the hour you first believed.
Pimp My Attitude
This is where I think out loud as I transform my appearance, thought processes and most of all, attitude - no matter how unpretty.