By MAISIE SELZER | Contributing Writer
The Palisadian-Post has partnered with Paul Revere Charter Middle School to highlight a series of pieces from its 2020 Literary Anthology. The following piece originally appeared in the anthology, released in spring, and has been reprinted here with permission.
I stepped onto the soft ivory snow and made my way under the shade of the pine trees. After a few short minutes of walking, the forest made way to a clearing. A few picnic tables were scattered around the clearing, but that wasn’t the main attraction of the snowy meadow. A roughly seventy-foot high telephone pole stood tall and proud in the middle of it. This was the next challenge in our four-day camp journey: climbing up a telephone pole and jumping off, all in a harness, of course.
“Okay, so today’s activity will be climbing up this pole and jumping off the top,” the counselor explained to us. “If anyone doesn’t feel like participating, it’s alright, you can just stay on the side.”
I zoned out, a look of unease frozen onto my face.
My friend, Kiki, came to my side. “Are you going to go?”
I couldn’t say no. Nearly everyone was going, and I probably would never have the chance to do it again. After staring at her chocolate colored eyes for a moment or two, I replied, “Yeah, I’m gonna go.”
I wasn’t going to go first. We all lined up next to the pole and waited for our turn. I gulped, my heart in my stomach. The line slowly got shorter and shorter until I was barely two away from going. It was too late to say no, but my mind kept screaming no, kept praying that an accident would happen or we would have to head back early.
But, nevertheless, my turn eventually came. They hooked me up to the harness and rope, and left me to climb. I sighed, anxiety coursing through my veins. I climbed, using the oversized staples stuck in the side of the pole as steps. It got chillier the higher I got, and the cold bit me like a lion.
Eventually, I made it to the top, my heart beating out of my chest. I stood up there, trying not to look down. My hands twitched and I closed my eyes out of fear. The class kept yelling “JUMP!” over and over to me, but I was frozen still. I took a few deep breaths, and contemplated just climbing back down and bailing out. I couldn’t do that to myself. It was far too embarrassing. My heart beat was louder than my breathing at this point, so I finally just closed my eyes, and I jumped.
I felt myself falling and falling and falling through the air. Suddenly, I stopped falling, and I just hung there, suspended. I couldn’t help but smile, the jump wasn’t so bad after all, and slowly I was lowered down.
I ran to Kiki, a smile still split across my face.
“That was so fun!” I yelled, exhilarated. Kiki just smiled back. I could still feel my heart beating in my chest, but at least it was all over. It felt good that I decided to take the chance and go. My heart was beating very fast, but in a good way? A smile spread across my face, and I was happy I went.
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