Surface Dive - 04.03.02

For a boy who was so afraid of large bodies of water, he was one who took to small, confined ones quite well. After breezing through swimming lessons as a child, he could be found at the local pool almost every day during the summer, bike locked up outside, and waiting for the lifeguards to open the door each day.

Being at a certain age, dares from friends were almost always met, and after an initial fear of diving, he conquered that as well. In fact, he found that simply diving into the cool water on a summer day had become on of his favorite activities. It was never something he aspired to do on a competitive level, but there was something about the split second of gliding through the air before plunging in and parting the liquid with his hands and head that made him feel like he was breaking new ground no matter how many times he did it.

Of course, simply diving into the water soon became boring as well, so he began to think of new ways in which he could alter the way he entered the water headfirst. Entering at 45 degrees was still fun, but as the angle became more extreme in either direction, things became even more of a challenge and exciting.

Once deep water was no longer something he was afraid of, he'd stand near the edge of the pool and spring as high as he could, then pitch over forward and try to make himself as thin as a toothpick in order to enter the water as close to perpendicular as he could. After entering the water, the downward momentum was so strong that it would take a quick reaction to change course and steer back to the surface. It was all sort of a rush, because although he was fond of the water, he would hardly ever open his eyes under the water because the chemicals hurt his eyes. Instead, he would dive in as straight as an arrow and curve himself back upward as soon as possible, never really knowing how close to the bottom he had come each time.

The other type of new and exciting dive that he had taught himself was nearly completely the opposite. Instead of diving in at the opposite angle of the water, he would try to flatten out his body and skim through just the very surface of the water. It was a move that required more speed than height in the jump from the edge of the pool, and he found that he could dive into the water and only use a small percentage of the water in completing such a maneuver.

Testing this new dive became sort of a game as well, because he would creep around the edge of the pool to the most shallow end, in hopes of diving in and testing his ability in only 3 feet of water. Because this was also something that wasn't allowed at the pool, he thought he was getting away with something every time he managed to pull it off. His other notion was that even if he was caught doing it by the lifeguard on duty, it would only mean he'd have to sit out for a few minutes, and at the same time he'd get to actually speak to one of the older girls he harbored fantasies about. It was a combination of these reasons that the surface dive became one of his favorite stunts while swimming, although he wasn't caught nearly enough.

Sitting on his towel by the side of the pool, he'd just seen a friend of his enter on the other side and thought he'd suprise him by diving in and swimming under the water until he was close enough to surface and splash frantically in his face. Without giving much of a thought to where he was or what he was doing exactly, he ran to the edge of the pool and jumped high in the air, pointing his hands together to enter the water.

In some split-second time frame when he was actually floating in the air between the edge of the pool and entering the water, he realized that he'd sprung up in the air and bent his body forward to do a deep-water dive. The water that he was now hovering above, though, was only 3 feet deep, and in that split second time he did the only thing he possibly could have.

Even though his brain had somehow processed that it was screaming towards a very hard surface at a very fast rate, his scrawny arms couldn't bear all the weight of his scrawny body, and the top of his head slammed against the cement at the bottom of the pool. Although it wasn't enough of a blow to knock him unconscious, he had trouble simply standing up in water that was only the level of his armpits, and when he opened his eyes to the sunny day, small gray spots swam around in his eyes and his head throbbed with pain.

With right hand probing the increasing lump on his head, he staggered to the edge of the pool and pulled himself out the best that he could. There was only a small spot of blood on his hand despite the collision, and he stumbled straight to where his towel had been sitting and plopped down on the pavement. The sun seemed twice as bright as it had been before he started to dive into the pool, so he pulled the towel out from underneath his wet swim trunks and wrapped it around his head.

Instead of asking for any help, though, he did what any young, insecure boy would do in that situation. He hoped that his friend hadn't seen the embarrassing moment and there was no way that he was going to ask any of the lifeguards (whom he had huge crushes on anyway) for help when he'd only end up looking silly anyway.

So he sat there for what could have been 20 minutes, and what could have been over an hour, his head wrapped in a beach towel and his back leaning against the chain link fence while the sun beat down on his throbbing head. His friend never did stop by, and none of the lifeguards asked him to see if anything was wrong either. Thinking of this made him sad in a way, because he wondered if anyone even cared at all, and it also made him slightly happy as well, because it meant that nobody would find out about his stupid accident. It would also mean that nobody would see him crying under his towel.