This story was kind of a response to my anxiety before heading out to Burning Man this year. But who do the voices belong to?
Why doesn’t he just do it? It’s not that high up.
Maybe he’s afraid. Of the water I mean. It’s deep. Can he swim?
If you’re jumping off a diving board I’d hope you’d know how to swim.
But what if he doesn’t? He could drown. Suck all that water into his lungs and be done for.
Then he shouldn’t be up there in the first place. No one forced him there.
We don’t know that. We don’t know anything.
We know he’s getting stage fright from something that isn’t all that big a deal. Everyone does it. That’s what the damn things were built for.
Maybe. But maybe it’s do or die for him. Maybe this is something he’s been working towards for his whole life and now that he’s on the verge of it, he can’t actually commit. Or maybe he wants to prove something.
To who? He’s just jumping off a diving board, not solving world hunger or something actually important like that. You’re making it out to be worse than it really is.
I don’t know. Maybe he wants to prove something to himself. To everyone. To no one. Does it matter?
No, but he still needs to jump. Can’t stay up there forever. There’s a line.
Guess he can’t. He’ll have to do it sooner rather than later.
What about the shallow end?
What about it?
He could easily just walk right back down and sit in it like all the young kids and old people. No danger there. Maybe watch as someone else does it. Give him some courage.
Nah, if he’s too scared to jump, and too scared to let go, then he’s too scared to do much of anything. We might be here all day.
Oh, wait, he’s about to…nope, false alarm. The people behind him are getting impatient. What’s taking him so long?
I told you, he’s scared.
Of what? There’s nothing to be scared of.
To him there is. We’re only seeing what’s happening on the outside. No clue what he’s thinking inside that brain of his.
Probably that he picked a bad time to do this. Or that he wished he never climbed up there in the first place.
No, I don’t think so. I think he picked today for a reason. I think today is important to him.
Important how? It’s just like any other day. The sun came up, the world kept spinning; nothing’s different.
I think you’re looking at this too simply.
I think you’re looking at this too in depth. Not everything has to have some all-important reasoning behind it. Maybe he just went up there on a dare.
It’s possible, sure. But if it were a dare, wouldn’t there be more people around?
Meaning wouldn’t there be someone to cheer him on? Or to poke fun for taking so long to go through with it? Far as I can see he’s alone, so no dare.
Okay, but if he’s alone then why do it at all?
I think that part’s obvious. To prove that he can.
Or to prove that he can’t.
Don’t be so cynical.
Don’t be so intellectual. There are more important things to prove to yourself in this life that don’t involve jumping from high heights into a bunch of chlorine stained water. You really are trying to make this out to be bigger than it is.
I’m just telling it like I see it. Look! He’s toeing the edge. I think he’s gonna do it.
About damn time. I’m getting impatient over here and I’m not even the one’s stuck behind him.
He jumped! He actually did it. Not the most graceful of a dive, but he did it.
He’s not coming up for air though. Shouldn’t he be coming up for air?
He’ll be fine. Just wait.
You sure about that? It’s been too long. I don’t think I could even hold my breath for that long.
Just wait. He’ll be fine. Trust me.
Trust you? The lifeguards aren’t even paying attention. He could drown. We should help.
No, no help. He can do it on his own.
You act like you know this kid. You not telling me something I should know?
Nope. Just gotta believe that it’ll work out. Sometimes that’s all there is to do.
And if he drowns while we sit here arguing about it? What then?
He won’t. Just gotta have some faith. I’m telling you, not everything is as bad as you make it out to be. He’ll come up for air when he’s ready.
Wait I think—
There! See? What’d I tell you? It all worked out just fine.
He looks shook up. You sure he’s alright? He’s breathing kinda heavy.
He’s smiling. You don’t smile when you’re not alright.
Now that’s not true—
Shh, shh, shh. Just let him have this. He did good.
For something so easy, I guess. I would have jumped right away.
There you go again, talking about things you know nothing about.
He jumped into a pool. Big deal. I’d be interested to see how he deals with the rest of the issues in his life.
Everyone’s gotta start somewhere. Look, he’s going up for another dive.
You think he’ll jump right in this time?
Yeah, I think he’ll be just fine.