I was perched on my favourite bench looking out the mouth of the harbour to the North Atlantic, when three twenty-somethings decided to perch on the edge of the wharf in front of me.
They obviously had been having the following discussion a good time before they arrived. Buddy 1 told the other two he was going to jump into the harbour. Buddy 2 was saying he wouldn’t dare, all the while daring him. The Girl was mostly quiet with an occasional laugh. She did say once or twice it was ass silly idea.
This discussion went on about ten minutes, Buddy 1 getting more determined, Buddy 2 egging him on more and more, and the Girl’s laughter getting a bit more nervous.
I felt I was an audience for them, though their voices did get higher whenever other folk passed. I noted that the idea to jump was not getting any less insistent. I felt that none of them were under any influence of drink or drugs, they were obviously physically fit, and I noted the closest Life Preserver was two minutes away if I had to throw it. I, myself, was not going in after anyone, no matter how refreshing the splash.
Usually, such joking around does not persist, so I was less surprised than the other two when Buddy 1 started taking off shoes and socks. Then his shirt. Buddy 2 kept daring him. The word “chicken” was bandied. The Girl was now voicing more cautious comments.
Buddy 1, who had made certain they were near a ladder, stood up on the foot-high wooden planking at the edge of the pier. Buddy 2 switched between comments that Buddy 1 was crazy, to more outlandish dares. The Girl sighed dramatically and just said he was crazy. I agreed – but silently. And over Buddy 1 went. He didn’t dive, but side way flopped. It was six to ten feet to the water. The splash was impressive. His scrambling up the ladder even more so.
Now, Buddy 1 was standing, soaking wet in a pool of water. Other people were paying attention. Some made comments as they passed “Was it cold enough for ya? Haw haw.” The Girl was shaking her head. Buddy 1 dared Buddy 2 to jump in. Buddy 2 said he would, if Buddy 1 jumped in again. The Girl said for them to stop being crazy. But, once in, what was there to lose?
Into the ocean goes Buddy 1 again. A side way splash. Up the ladder as fast as ever.
More people are walking past, making comments.
Buddy 2 said there were even people further away filming with their phones. He told the Girl to take out her phone and take some pictures. He took off his shoes and his shirt. He gave his hat to the Girl. He jumped. He called from the water for Buddy 1 to join him. Buddy 1 did. They both were up the ladder right quick. They were both dripping. They were both shivering. The both dared the Girl to jump.
The Girl handed her phone to Buddy 2. She slipped out of her sandals. She might have heard one of the Buddies start to say “You wouldn’t dare.” In she went. She was not quite as quick up the ladder, but both Buddy 1 and Buddy 2 helped her.
They all three were uncontrollably shivering. They all put on their foot ware. One passer by told them how cold the North Atlantic really was. He said they should get home and get into a hot shower or bath. They were all shivering greatly, but I think they shook their heads in agreement.
And away they went.
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