I was afraid. I stood petrified as I cautiously peered over the edge and saw the long drop. One step further and I would plunge down, probably towards my death. The surface underneath me seemed feeble and frail, as if one wrong movement would tear it to pieces and I would have bought myself a one way ticket to death. The thin surface was already trembling cruelly as if it were sensing my fear and enjoying a laugh at my expense. I was on a diving board, the highest one I had ever been on. I could feel everyone's stares nudging me forward, waiting for me to jump. Could I do it or not?

Until that moment of indecision on the diving board, the day at the pool had been great. I had spent the whole time swimming, playing cards, and eating junk food, but every now and then, my glance would flicker over to the diving boards where the courageous thrill seekers had lined up. I tried to ignore the diving board and the shouts of delight and excitement, but I found myself looking at it longer and longer, and walking closer and closer, pulled by curiosity. The low diving board presented no fear to me, I had jumped and spun and twirled off it. During all this time, my full attention was on the diving board right next to me, the high diving board. I decided I would do it, and I lined up with the masses waiting their turn. A surge of excitement and confidence went through me. I thought that I would do the most splendid tricks off the diving board, ones that hadn't ever been done before. That confidence instantly evaporated as soon as I touched the cold metal ladder and stared up at the full height of the diving board; at that moment, the diving board was as high as any skyscraper in the world to me. Slowly, almost reluctantly, I began to climb up to the diving board, savoring each breath as if it would be my last. When I finally reached the top of the diving board, I looked up and felt dread and coldness. From such a height, the swimming pool was so tiny that I could envision myself missing it completely and splattering on the concrete. That thought itself, was enough to give me doubts about jumping off. It was a hot summer day, but there on top of the diving board, I felt as if I were encased in a block of ice, unable to move. A thought flashed into my head, "Should I do it? Should I jump? I think I should just go back down."

My brain quickly processed that idea and completely embraced it, rejoiced at the perfect solution. A voice reasoned within my head, it reassured me that descending to safety would be the smart thing to do, the logical thing to do. I could see all the terrible things that could, that probably would happen if I jumped off: I would probably get a heart attack on the way down, the impact of smashing into the water might kill me, and lastly, I would probably drown inside the swimming pool. Another part of me argued by telling me I couldn't go back down the ladder; there were people waiting impatiently for me to jump. I couldn't shove all those people out of the way because of the frightening prospect of having to dive off. I knew that as soon as my foot touched the ground and felt safety and warmth, I would also regret the decision and come back up later. Both arguments sounded so reasonable, but I knew I wanted to jump, I just couldn't find the courage to do it.

"Come on," a voice shouted and tugged me back to reality, "Jump already!"

I took one step forward, and felt the diving board shudder under my weight. I struggled to keep my balance as I walked cautiously like a tight rope walker. One more step, one more, and I kept pushing and forcing myself to walk until I stood at the edge of the diving board. I looked down apprehensively, and deeply regretted my foolishness that had placed me in such a situation. I tried to take one more step, to fall off the diving board, but my feet would not budge. My head was whirring around and it felt as if it was a computer that had short circuited. All of a sudden, my head cleared and I became calm, I knew what I had to do. I had made my decision, and I was determined to follow through.

I clenched my fists, and closed my eyes tightly, as if seeing the results of my decision would blind me; then, I took one step forward and plummeted down. I didn't die, and it wasn't painful. In an instant, I felt the cool water wrapping around me and telling me that I had landed safely. I paddled furiously out of the water and turned around just in time to see the next person dive off. I realized that the jump off the high diving board had been both exhilarating and electrifying, excitement coursed through me and I knew I would have to jump again.

Walking off the diving board with your eyes closed is hardly impressive, but it was my first dive and it certainly wasn't my last. I realized that jumping off the high diving board isn't painful, but fun. In a matter of seconds, I found myself back in line, and I soared up the ladder and this time, without any fear or apprehension, I tossed myself off, this time with my eyes wide open and my body spinning. The day at the pool came to an end, only after I had launched myself off the diving board a dozen times. I thought back to the question I had asked myself in a moment of hesitation, "Could I do it or not?" I could do it. I had done it. I had jumped off the high diving board.