Timothy stood at the edge of the diving board and looked down. Beneath him the cool, blue water bounced lazily back and forth against each edge of the swimming pool. He took a deep breath.
It was a hot, July afternoon, and the pool was full of other kids, splashing and playing tag in the refreshing water. They were all taking turns jumping off of the diving board, and Timothy thought it had looked fun—that was, until, it was his turn to jump.
Now, standing at the edge of the board, it looked a lot higher up than it did from within the water.
“C’mon, Timmy,” Brandon said behind him. “I want to jump to.”
“Ok,” Timmy said, stepping back onto the pool deck. “You can go first.”
“Are you sure?” Brandon asked, stepping onto the board.
“Yeah, go ahead,” Timmy continued quickly, “I’ll watch how you do it.”
“Ok,” Brandon said, shrugging. He turned to the friends in the pool. “Cannonball!” He ran to the edge of the board, bounced, and flew high into the air, tucking his knees into the chest and breaking the surface of the water with a SPLASH.
Timothy watched as Brandon resurfaced, laughing triumphantly at the huge splash he had made.
Ok, Timmy thought. My turn. That didn’t look so scary.
But once again, the view was a lot scarier once he was actually in place on the diving board. He felt the wet surface beneath his feet.
“Hey, do you think I should dry this off first?” he asked Brandon, who had swum to the edge of the pool to watch.
“No, it’ll just get all wet again. It’s fine that way,” Brandon said.
“But couldn’t I slip?” Timmy asked again.
“If you’re afraid of slipping, don’t run on it, just walk,” Brandon instructed. “You’d be fine, though,” he continued. “It’s not that high up.”
Timmy gulped. If Brandon could do it, why couldn’t he? Why was he scared when no one else was?
“Everything ok, Timmy?” Brandon asked.
“Yeah,” Timmy said slowly. “I’m just…a little nervous, I guess.”
“Have you jumped off of a diving board before?” Brandon asked.
“Um, no, I haven’t,” Timmy said, embarrassed. He didn’t want his friends to think he wasn’t cool. “We don’t have a pool or anything,” he continued.
“Oh, that makes sense! I remember my first time jumping,” Brandon said. “I was super scared. I didn’t even want to do it. But eventually I did, and it was so fun! You should just try it,” he continued. “You don’t have to do it again if you don’t like it.”
Timmy was relieved that Brandon had a similar experience, but he was still nervous about the jump.
“What if I can’t come back up?” Timmy asked.
Brandon looked around for a moment, thinking.
“I know!” he said eventually, and swam to a pool noodle that was floating a few feet away. He came back to the edge of the pool.
“I’ll stay here with this noodle. If you have trouble, I’ll hold on to this and help you up!” he said excitedly. “But, seriously, you’ll be fine. You’re a great swimmer. You have nothing to worry about.”
Timmy smiled. Brandon’s kindness was helping him feel more comfortable and courageous. Plus, Timmy thought, with Brandon right there, I’ll definitely be fine.”
He took a deep breath and stepped a few feet closer to the edge of the board. It felt high, and he was nervous, but he knew he couldn’t walk away now. He had Brandon’s help, and, besides, it could be fun!
He took another breath, and bounced a little on the board. Even that was fun. He smiled a bit, took a deep breath, and—JUMPED!
He felt his hair lift a bit as he fell closer and closer to the pool, and then—SPLASH—he was submerged.
With his eyes open, he could make out Brandon’s figure, waiting attentively by the edge of the pool, and the noodle floating at the ready. But he didn’t need them. He kicked into the water and when up, up, up—then broke the surface of the water, taking a deep breath.
“Whoa!” he exclaimed. “That was so fun!”
“I told you you’d like it!” Brandon said excitedly. “It’s awesome!”
“Thank you for your help, Brandon,” Timmy said. “You made the whole thing a lot easier.”
“Hey,” Brandon said, shrugging. “What are friends for?”
The two laughed, and spent the rest of the afternoon taking turns jumping off of the diving board.
Timmy wasn’t scared at all. In fact, by trying something new, he discovered that he had had a lot of fun!