Pearls And All

“It’s just a choral class. A one credit choral class. I didn’t even have to audition.” Were my thoughts as I climbed over the railing of my apartment complex, onto the ledge of a 50-foot drop. The murmurings of “She’s so brave” and high-pitched shrieks verbalized my inner thoughts and perpetrated what should have escaped my lips, had I not seemed to have swallowed my voice.

The night had begun ordinarily enough. I opened the door to another Friday night first date. I slipped into my heels as I asked him what we would be doing on a James Bond-themed date that I had been forewarned (with no further details) would require a dress for only the first half of the evening. As such an inquiry was in vain, (he told me he could not disclose such a surprise) I remained impatiently obligated to wait before I discovered what the evening held in store for me.

Dinner was fabulous. Our dates had transformed their ordinary apartment into a European-styled montage of sheets and candles. We transcended beyond the stresses of college life, as we trifled with the topic of travel and reminisced about childhood memories. The next portion of our evening, then, came upon us.

Our dates pulled a couple of guns – SQUIRT guns - from a drawer and insisted that we each have one. They then dropped us off at our apartments with instructions that we change into jeans and sturdy shoes.

As we emerged once again in quite different attire, we met the guys in the main area of our complex. I had in mind something having to do with doorbell ditching, or scavenger hunts (maybe, in the most extreme of circumstances, a mini car chase). They began walking up a flight of stairs on our complex. We hesitantly followed as they continued on to two flights of stairs – and up to the top level. Us girls looked around with intense curiosity, wondering what we could possibly be doing on the third floor of our apartment complex with squirt guns and the attire fit for the most audacious rogue in history (while still wearing the pearls I had forgotten to take off). Our attention then became fixed upon our dates, who were pulling a long line of rope out of a bag, and throwing out gloves and carabineers. We both looked at each other, then at the equipment, then down at the concrete ground some 50 feet below us. The guys started checking the railing. As they jiggled the middle, it began (to our horror) loosening up, so they decided to tie the rope to the corner. The first guy whipped himself over the ledge and pranced down with Bourne-like grace. I began telling myself I could do this, until my date went down and landed upside down, almost hitting his head against the brick wall.

Then, people started chuckling when they heard I was a first-timer. “That’s it.” I told myself. “I value my life over my bravery any day.” But then that little voice seeped its way into my argument – the annoying voice that dares you to try the impossible. And it did. It reminded me that this was too good of an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone to give up. That voice always wins out.

And I went for it. I stood on that ledge, with little more than a rope in one hand and fear-induced beads of sweat in the other and plunged. When I reached the bottom, my heart was pumping not only from trepidation, but from a rush of adrenaline that had instigated an unexpected thrill. It was a blast! I was scaling buildings. No big deal. The next time I went down, I was humming my own theme music – Kronk style - with squirt gun in hand, and I learned something. The only thing to fear is fear itself. Once you conquer that, you will find that you were braver than you knew. From now on, I will have no restraints. I will dive head first, pearls and all.

© 2010 by Rachel Lowry. All rights reserved.

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