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I was staying with my Dad one summer, helping him remodel a house. I was all right as a helper, but I really don't think I did much that made a difference, but it was nice to spend time with Dad. I was a scrawny twelve year old, looking for girls and hoping they were looking at me.
It was a fun summer and fairly safe, unless you count the incident at the local pool.
There was a girl there that day who I really wanted to impress, although what happened next completely wiped my memory of what she may have looked like. It doesn't matter that I can't remember; it's just that the traumatic events jarred them right out of my brain.
Just like every other stud at the pool, I did dives off the high dive, and not just the wimpy feet first dives. I could do a nice head first dive, and even managed sometimes to not slap my calves on the water so hard they would shine bright red. And make a stupid slapping sound.
I was watching closely to try to time my dives so we could meet innocently enough on the ladder of the high dive. I would have liked to have been behind her, so I could strike up the casual conversation, like "Hey, nice dive." But fate said it was not to be.
As I sauntered up to the ladder, she hesitated to speak to someone, and it would have looked stupid to wait for her to get on the ladder and then climb up after her. She probably would have thought I wanted to check her out as she was climbing the ladder, and she probably would have been right. So now that I had committed, I had to climb the ladder without hesitation or looking stupid.
As luck would have it, she climbed up right behind me. Maybe she was checking me out!
Then an inspiration struck me. Why not get to the top, and then let her go first like a true gentleman? Then I could chalk up some points for courtesy, and get to watch the heavenly dream walk past me on the board and dive in front of me. It seemed to be the perfect way to get a conversation started.
I got to the top. I stepped over to the side and told her she could go first. I was holding onto one of the silvery poles that flanked the board, to stop people from falling to the cement below before the dive. She was impressed and flashed me a smile that wiped all common sense out of my brain.
I was mesmerized by the glance, and it pulled me from my logical and sensible brain right onto the side that said "Follow". So I followed her. At least my feet followed her onto the board, while my two pathetic hands held onto the silver barrier.
As she dove, the board bounced down and she dropped into the water. My feet were still on the board as it traveled up boomerang-like from the sudden release of weight. My legs must have been locked because I immediately began an upward trajectory, with my feet passing my head before I knew what was happening. I was upside down on the rail, and the momentum carried me further. I was now swinging pendulum-like away from the board, on the other side of the rail. I had enough sense to hold on rather than plunge head first, but there was no way to keep my grip and simply hang from the rail.
With a slight twist of my wrists I was free from the rail, the board and any other solid object. I had dreamed of flying through space often by this time in my life, but there was nothing ethereal or pleasant about this flight. My body continued turning as I descended, and without further ado, I landed smartly on the cement - on my butt.
It was a solid landing. A good jolt to the spine, and if I remember, I landed on my right cheek. From 10 feet up, I had plopped onto solid cement, stopped only by the skimpy flesh of my rear. It really hurt, but again, miraculously, I was not seriously injured. People started to gather around to see if there were broken bones, or better yet, broken bones that were sticking out through my skin.
I didn't give them the satisfaction of helping me up. To add injury to injury, I slowly and painfully rose to my feet and noticed a gash across my arm.
I limped to the dressing room and went home.
I hope she was worth it. I can’t remember what she looked like. After all, I landed on my brain.
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