This story has always been referenced by that title.
I have not shared it for over twenty five years.
It was my story telling debut.
I babysat a lot when I was young.
I enjoyed it and kids liked me.
It gave me spending money and something to do.
My favourite family to sit for,
Lived down the street from me.
They were a nice family.
They had two girls.
They were great parents and always considerate of me.
There was always a pillow and blanket put out if it were to be a late night.
They always left my pay on the shelf BEFORE they left.
I was welcome to have any friends over who had been pre-approved by my parents.
But, not until after the girls were in bed.
They had an in ground pool.
Sometimes they would invite me to come early so I could swim before they left.
One particular spring evening,
As I sat doing homework at the kitchen table,
I could hear the sounds of a ballgame starting coming in the open window.
I remembered ‘the boy’ was playing ball that night.
With the girls safely asleep in their beds,
I thought I would venture out to the backyard for a peek.
The ball diamond was directly below the hilly property.
I was excited at the prospect of being so sneaky.
Once in the backyard,
I went around the pool to get to the back of the yard.
I could see the lights and movement of people at the ball park,
But the hedge was making it impossible to find ‘the boy.’
Darn, so close.
If only I was a foot taller.
A foot taller...hmm
Hey, I could stand on the diving board.
I was so clever.
I was all a giggle of anticipation.
I would be able to watch ‘the boy’
And he would never know.
I hopped up on the board.
I took a couple of steps forward!
Yes! I could see perfectly!
Now, to find ‘the boy’.
There he is!
I jumped for joy!
This is great!
Wait...I am moving.
What is happening?
I looked down.
My feet weren’t moving but I was.
The board was tipping!
Ever so slowly,
I surfed the atmosphere,
Until I had nothing but my toenails keeping me dry
I jumped into the pool.
Nooooo! My brain yelled.
Once my head became submerged under the water,
My brain yelled, ‘COLD! COLD! GET OUT! GET OUT!’
I scrambled out of the pool.
I looked at that diving board with deep seeded insult.
This inanimate object had become my enemy.
Why did you do that?!
Then I realised the board itself was sliding into the pool!
Completely soaked and freezing cold,
I grabbed that board and started to pull.
It was tremendously heavy.
I knew I couldn’t let that board enter the pool!
I readjusted my grip and pulled harder.
I pulled and pulled but it wouldn’t budge.
The crowd below let out a cheer...
I sent them a look of disgust in response.
It‘s all his fault.
I headed into the house.
I borrowed a robe from the bathroom.
I put my wet clothes in the dryer.
I stared out the window at that diving board.
My hatred did not make it move.
Back in my dry clothes,
I went outside to give it another shot.
I pulled until my sore arms told me to stop.
The game was over.
And so was I.
I was defeated.
If only I was strong enough to move the board!
I wouldn’t have to tell them any of this...
The board is the only evidence...
Well, and the wet deck.
It started to rain.
A lovely gentle rain fell from the sky.
Within seconds the partially wet deck was completely wet.
The wet foot marks of my calamity...gone.
I laughed in spite of myself.
My arms hurt,
Although, not as much as my ego.
I was embarrassed.
Embarrassed I had to tell the parents.
I had to tell them about ‘the boy’.
The parents’ sensed something was wrong as soon as they saw me.
I told the story in a quiet voice,
My head hung with the weight of the guilt I felt.
I was unsure about their reaction.
But, I wasn’t prepared for what happened next.
The Mrs. came up to me closer and asked if I was ok.
When I assured her I was fine,
She fell straight to the ground.
I looked to the Mr. for explanation.
He was smiling at his wife.
She was laughing!
She was rolling on the floor in hysterics.
Relief flooded through me.
I was expecting them to be disappointed in me,
Not amused by me.
The Mrs. stopped laughing,
She hugged me and apologized.
She explained they had only just opened their pool.
Leaving the diving board unattached was ‘silly’.
(That was her favourite word. It replaced ‘wrong’.)
Mr. was thankful he had removed the pool cover,
And they were both grateful I was ok.
I went home with my dignity intact.
That family made sure of it.
I was grateful to them.
A few days later,
My family was gathered together in our backyard.
It was an unusually warm spring day,
We were taking advantage of that.
As my family chatted amongst themselves,
I picked away at my nail polish.
That’s when I noticed...
The palms of my hands were covered in angry scratches.
I glanced up quickly,
Mom, of course, read the guilt that flashed across my eyes.
I rubbed my hands absently,
I flashbacked to the moment I jumped into the pool.
Seeing the image in my brain...
Made me laugh.
The more I envisioned the look on my face as I entered the pool,
The more I laughed.
I was laughing so hard
My family began to laugh as well.
I could not speak.
I was crying and laughing at the same time.
When I could get my breath,
I would start to talk.
But hysterics would take over every few words.
It took some time,
But I was eventually able to tell my family the story.
The diving board story.
I was prompted to share that story many times.
It was always a good laugh.
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