Amazing Kids! Magazine

Wimp

By Olivia Luntz, age 13, Connecticut

 

Have you ever done something that scared you?  More importantly, did you enjoy it in the end?

“Do you want to go on the tire swing?” my cousin Matt asked me.

“Huh?” I replied, pulling the headphones out of my ears and pausing my iPod.

“Don’t do it Olivia,” my brother Brian warned me.

“Tire swing,” I said, “Sounds harmless. Let’s go.” I looked at my brother with my really, why not? face. Funny, whenever I use that face something bad usually happens.

I pulled open the screen door stepping out into the warm summer air. Matt led Brian and me up a hill to a cul-de-sac behind his house. We waved at kids running gleefully and parents relaxing in lawn chairs enjoying the perfect weather. Even though my surroundings were seemingly perfect, something in the back of my head told me something was wrong. We walked up another hill into a front yard different from all the others. This yard had no one in it, but it did host a huge tree with three swings. Two were run-of-the-mill tire swings and the other was made out of a Swiffer mop and duct tape. I thought Swiffers were only for cleaning: who knew they could double as recreational devices!  The whole yard just gave off the unsettling feeling of danger. The swings could break and fall, and you would tumble down the rock-covered hill into the street below.

“Get on the swing, Olivia,” Matt told me like I was some idiot dog in need of training. I sat on the swing, legs dangling out of the hole in the middle. Matt gripped the three ropes and started swinging to the left.

I called to Brian, “This is not so bad!” Brian just shook his head and looked up.

I looked up too and saw what Matt was doing.  He was twisting the ropes together so that when he let go, the ropes would twist and turn until they untangled themselves. My friends loved to do this at the playground, and just looking at them made me feel sick.

“Umm… I’m not sure I want to do this anymore….” I told Matt quietly. He continued to fiddle with the ropes with extreme concentration.  I exited the swing through the hole and sat down on the dirt ground.

“What gives?” Matt asked me, annoyed. I bit my lower lip and looked at the ground. I felt like a wimp for chickening out–just like when I wouldn’t go on Splash Mountain at Disney World and Brian said that it wasn’t scary at all.

“Come on Olivia, you are such a WIMP!” Matt said, looking at me with frustration. He probably couldn’t believe he was related to such a baby. I looked up as he sat down on the swing and spun around all relaxed as the ropes untangled slowly.

“Fine, I’ll do it,” I snapped. He flashed an award-winning smile at me. I sat, once again, on the swing. Then he spun the ropes and once more, I regretted my decision.

After a few minutes of freaking out inside my head, Matt pronounced, “DONE!” I looked and gulped, above me was a tangled mess. Well, mess doesn’t begin to cover it. Above me it looked like an atomic bomb went off and all of the rope and branch pieces that were destroyed were put back together by a two year old. Even though I was terrified what would happen to me when Matt let go, I told myself I had to stop being such a wimp and for once face my fears.

“Now….” Matt tried to fill the awkward silence, while Brian and I stared at the ropes above our heads. “Now,” Matt said, louder this time, “keep your arms and legs close to you. You don’t want them hitting the tree,” he said. It sounded like good advice, as if he spoke from experience. “Also,” he added, “don’t scream too loudly,” he looked around, “we’re not supposed to be here.” I pulled my legs toward me and hugged my chest with my arms as if my life depended on it, which, in a way, it did. On that happy note, Matt let go.

I felt the tire drop and start to spin. Slowly at first, but then accelerating to what I thought must be motion faster than light. Spinning, spinning, and spinning some more, spinning like there was no tomorrow.  I wanted to reach out, spread out, let my arms and legs dance in the air. I was the eye of the hurricane, Hurricane Olivia, and I could fly over that small town, I could be free. I would have let go and danced in the wind if it wasn’t for Matt’s warning and my feeling that that would be a good way to get myself killed, so I held myself tighter and wished it would be over.

I screamed out to Matt, or anyone who could hear me, “How much longer?” I could hear my words being ripped away by the wind surrounding me, right as they left my mouth and they danced, vowels and constants spinning around me. Somehow, someone heard me, even though I thought that was highly unlikely.

I heard through the vortex surrounding me, “You’re the fastest yet!” Great. Great with a capital “G”. I pulled my random body parts toward me and held on for dear life.

The swing dropped again and now I was slowly swinging back and forth. My head throbbed and my arm was numb from hitting the tree at some point, but I smiled. I looked down instead of up this time, and saw the hard packed dirt about a foot below me. I had to admit it was fun and, even though it was terrifying, it was also exhilarating. I guess now I understand why people bungee jump and sky dive, for that great feeling when it’s over and you step back down on solid ground. Or maybe they’re just a little bit insane and only care for the thrill.

“So… how do you feel?” Matt asked me. In my mixed up state, a random quote from YouTube came to me and seemed to be the perfect response. “I feel,” I said slowly, “like a person who’s just cheated death and doesn’t particularly want to try again.”  When the world stopped spinning, I stepped out of the swing, opened my arms, and ran, as the new Olivia, no longer a wimp, dancing with the wind.