The Jump

I am hopeless at estimation. When the google maps voice tells me I have to turn right in 500 meters, a slight panic washes over me, as I inwardly worry about what 500 meters actually looks like.

 Let me explain. Put science and physics to one side for a moment. Distance and space is quite subjective, depending on what is happening or how you are feeling. 

Where I grew up there was (and still is) an amazing public swimming pool. There was a massive 50 meter pool 10 lanes wide and next to it was another 25 meter diving pool that seemed as deep as it was long. Attached to the diving pool at one end where 3 two meter bouncy diving boards. But this was nothing, at the other end was a 10 meter diving tower that had 3 platforms one at 5 meters, 7 meters, and the last at 10 meters high.

This diving tower was and still is like a monolith of potential bravery for every teenager that dared climb its ladder. There were many summer holidays lazing on the grass watching everyone try and fool themselves that they were “OK” standing on the edge of that skyscraper.

One summer I tested my resolve and climbed all the way to the top of the 10 meter tower. As I stood on the edge of the platform, I looked down into the pool and I vividly remember my toes dangling out into space over the water. Below, on the solid ground, my friends were laughing, yelling and cheering “Come on! You can do it!!!”

Swallowing hard, I shuffled my feet along the edge of the platform. A gust of wind from the water tunnelled up the tower and played with the edges of my hair pulling them over my eyes. Many people had stood where I was, some have jumped and others have gone to the edge, stood there for a couple of seconds, and then walked away. At that moment an unpleasant boy jibed me impatiently “Come on we haven’t got all day.” In response, I turned and smiled, then engaging my thighs, I pushed my feet, legs and body off the platform. I jumped.

I don’t remember how I jumped, whether I jumped up, or out or both. I don’t even recall the fall. All I remember was the crash of the water and that I was moving toward the bottom of the pool at a fast rate. 

Even now I can still feel the tiny bubbles sliding over my skin, and obscuring my vision, as the water gave way to my momentum, of which I could not stop. This was, unexpectedly, the scariest part, of the event. I realised that gravity still had its power over me. This was when panic hit, I had missed judged the distance of the fall. How on earth was I going to get above the waters surface before I needed to take a breath? 

As I moved through the water I looked up at the surface and saw it stretch out further and further the more I fell. I was suddenly out of my depth. As I reached the concrete bottom I frantically pushed my feet against the bottom of the pool and kicked as hard as I could, breaking the waters surface to a round of cheers and screams from my pals pool side. I laughed and waved along with them, but as I climbed up the ladder to exit the pool, I realised then that I would never do that again.

Lately, I have been thinking of this event. Of being at the top of the tower and then suddenly finding yourself at the very bottom, unsure how to get yourself up to the surface. It is kind of like life in away, you move through different events, some are simple to approach others take a long time to climb up towards, but the distance from the top to the bottom is always hard to judge.

You see I chose to jump, I knew I was going to do it, but I failed to calculate the entire drop. I only half estimated the fall and forgot to think about the depth of the pool. My choice did not stop as my feet hit the water, the momentum of my action propelled me to the bottom of the pool. 

So the real challenge in life is not the jump, but how long it will take you to push off the bottom and reach the surface. How long for you to become neutral, to gain balance once again. But as always in life, we sometimes fail to calculate the distance of the entire journey.

You see google maps isn’t able to help you for that estimation, although wouldn’t that be nice. “Turn right in 500 meters. Then take the first exit onto menopause drive.” Now that seems like an interesting tower to jump off, doesn’t it?   

The Tower Jump – Sketch Pencil on paper

Hope everyone had a great week and a peaceful March xoxo  

Published by allihoward123

Allison Howard main passion has always been story telling works predominantly with illustration and completed her MFA at Monash University, Melbourne 2012. Graduating with the Chancellors award for best Thesis. Allison Has worked and collaborated with many artists and exhibitions, in both Australia and New Zealand. To be kept up to date with Allison's latest activity and to view her current and archived works please visit Instagram @alli.howard123 and hit the follow button.

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