Monday, 20 June 2022

'The dare' by Anita Goodfellow


I dare you.’

Jagged rocks lurk in the depths, but that’s ok. I know where they are. I live here, but you’re just a summer visitor like the swifts that nest in the eaves of my parents’ farmhouse.

This year you’ve brought a whiff of the city with you.  When we were children we climbed trees and camped out. Now, you’re all gloss and you dazzle my friends with your fashionable clothes and latest iPhone.

I raise my arms, smile.

‘Go on,’ you say.  

I dive. When I surface you’re peering down at me, sun-bleached hair tumbling. I can tell you’re impressed. Last summer I couldn’t dive. Last summer you were flat-chested, but now you’re beautiful and you know it. I leave a trail of wet footprints on my way back to the bridge.

‘Your turn,’ I say.

You haul yourself up onto the stone wall. A shadow of uncertainty clouds your eyes. The water is duck-pond smooth below. I’m about to tell you the safest spot from which to jump but then I remember you kissing my boyfriend’s lips so instead I say, ‘Go on. I dare you.’

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