This is my entry for that Flash Fiction contest I mentioned several weeks ago. They have announced the winners (spoiler alert, I didn’t win) so I figure I’m safe to post this here now for posterity. Enjoy (or not, it’s up to you).
The Deep End
by Paul Liadis
I’m standing on the diving board (the big high one, not the low baby one). My toes dangle over the edge. My knees are bent. I’m brave.
Dad told me the stuff that goes into a black hole gets crushed into a tiny point at the center. This is called a singularity. Nothing can escape. No star died in the bottom of the deep end of the pool. I can escape.
I’m almost six and a half. This is important. Dad won’t let me jump off the diving board into the deep end even though little kids do it all the time. Three-year-olds, even.
But Dad can’t watch me always. I have a little brother, and sometimes little brothers have to pee. And little brothers can’t go to the bathroom on their own.
I’m looking at the water, on the highest high dive ready for lift-off. I’m not scared. Just waiting because.
The lifeguard sees me. He’s climbing down his big tall chair, blowing his whistle. He’s a big kid. Probably too big to remember what it’s like to be little. This is not good news.
I pinch my nose and close my eyes and spring on the board high in the air, just like the Olympics.
They drag me from the cold, my eyes red and stingy, not from the water, but because I could have touched the bottom.
Dad says we’re never swimming here again. I don’t care. It’s the last day of Summer, anyways. I am brave.