A breeze drifts through the boat shop as we shiver with anticipation and nervous energy. A sprinkle of snow floats in on the brief gust of wind, landing on my bare shoulders. Another tremor racks my body, this time from the unwelcome ice against my skin. Hours ago thinking of the plunge ahead put a knot of tension and a little fear into my stomach and chest. Glancing around, I nod to the strangers on the left and right, silently acknowledging the trauma in the near future.
Steve pulls us in for a final ARE YOU READY?! A ragged cheer escapes from tightened throats in response.
Evan and I leap from the doorway, like deer from an enraged bear, its hungry maw inches from our heels. Leading the herd we bolt down the small trail, careful not to fall towards the piles of snow on either side, tiptoeing towards the slope. Down the steps. And leap in to the Ocean. I hit the water and there is suddenly no feeling in any part of my body. There is a moment of calm blackness under the surface until my survival instinct kicks in and I burst from the sea, a monster born from the brine.
The dash back to the boat house is almost removed, like I am looking through someone else’s eyes, my fingers burn with an icy ache but the rest of me is either numb or burning. I am now a polar bear.
Written by Cortland Fischer, Middlebury Union High School, Semester 54