When exactly did I, Sara Addison, change? A few weeks ago ... the exact day being Saturday, the day before the fall daylight savings time change. I woke, and keeping my eyes shut tight, rolled off my bed and landed on my knees. Hands in prayer position, I prayed the Lord’s Prayer, like I do every morning. That will never change.
I rub my eyes open, blinking against the brilliant sun and cool breeze. The quiet whisper of the wind through the blue curtains sound like secrets, promises of the amazing things to come. Goosebumps rise on my arms and legs. Tiny hairs stand on end. My heart beats faster and faster.
Something is different ... what? I stare at the ceiling, smiling. A silent shift begins inside of me. Uncontrolled, like a tectonic plate, my whole being slipped and shifted. Sudden and fresh wants, needs, desires, and passions rearranged themselves inside me. Powerful and intense, each fighting for first place. These hurricane-force winds of change, so intense ... rapid whirling thoughts disappearing before fully forming.
I take a deep breath, saying yes to this thrilling moment! My world had tilted like a pinball machine, lights flashing and bells ringing, bouncing me between the bumpers of possibility. I grinned at the chaos unfolding before me, certain nothing will ever be the same again. Not a problem! Outside, a breeze blew the dead leaves from the lawn.
Inside, my heart hammering, I took my time waking up. Rolling back onto my bed, I buried myself inside my soft, down comforter and laughed out loud. Life is good. So, so good! Time to step out, live outside the box for a while ... explore. To do me, do life on my own terms.
Reaching over, I feel for my phone on the nightstand. First up, text triple hearts to Danny Wainwright ... the guy who makes me giddy inside.
I can pin down to the second, the main event triggering this earthquake inside me. Danny’s kiss ... when I discovered saying ‘yes’ to life opens new and exciting doors. And some nightmarish ones!
1 ~ The Kiss
Stepping towards the edge of the high-dive springboard, I struggle for focus, the smell of chlorine thick in the air. Need to center myself on the precise task-at-hand, my last dive of the day.
Don’t look down. Then up, For Your glory, Father.” After gaining air, I do a forward flip, followed by the hope of a perfect entry into the pool twenty-five feet below. The South Boca South Dive team is counting on me to score well today at the Tri-County Swim Meet here in Ft. Lauderdale.
The Kiss hijacks my concentration. My first kiss ever, from Danny Wainwright … such a special moment in time. From the beginning, my gut told me our easy friendship would go way deep. Exactly what has happened in the few months since the end of summer. The Kiss made my tummy do a flip-flop. A completely new and surprising sensation. Closing my eyes, I relive the moment again and a smile slowly spreads across my face.
Danny, you always crack me up with your silly jokes. . . when we’re together, I can do anything. When you look at me in your sweet, intense way, my knees go weak. When we are apart, I can’t wait until the next time we’ll be together.
Last night, everybody said good night outside Melissa’s and my hotel room. Jose, my little brother, gave me a sweet hug and kiss for luck. After Jose and the rest of the family left for their rooms, you asked to give me a kiss for luck, too. The way you rubbed your finger behind your right ear … you do that … I had a hunch you thought I might say no. So I moved in closer, really close. The faint citrus scent of your cologne tickled my nose.
The Kiss wasn’t a brotherly kiss but a quick, sweet, on the lips kiss . . .the first time I’ve felt someone else’s lips on mine. Yours. Our first kiss ended too soon, leaving me startled by the quick intensity of my reaction. I touched my lips, then touched yours. Wow! Wow again.
I’m powerless to stop replaying The Kiss in slow-mo, over and over, savoring the momentary special feeling. Touching my fingers to my lips, I open my eyes and look around ... can everyone read my mind? I know you are down there in the stands watching, along with Luke, Pedro, Jose, Frank, Mom, Dad and the judges.
The judges! Concentrate! Shaking my head, I will my mind back to the present. Using my thumbs, I adjust the front straps of my swimsuit one last time. The familiar rapid, three-note whistle sound, the sound Luke always gives when I’m poised to dive, pierces the air. Breathing my usual brief prayer, ‘For Your Glory, Father’, I begin gaining air before executing my forward flip, then a straight shot into the pool below.
The cool water brings me straight back to reality. Surfacing, I turn to the scoreboard. a 9.0 lights it up.. I take a deep, satisfying breath, hearing a roar go up from the Palm Beach County section of the bleachers. Pulling up my swim goggles, I follow the noise while scanning the crowd, looking for Mom and Dad. I grin, pointing to heaven with my forefinger. Those who know me know I’m giving all the glory to God. All is well in my world.
You stand next to Mom and Dad, giving me two thumbs up, a proud grin on your face. I laugh. This is your first year of hanging out with the high school swim team. So sweet, you are loving IT as much as you do! I’ve been diving competitively for four years, and this dive was a fun one, but routine.
The school math and chess clubs you belong to are likely more subdued and in-your-head. Wait till you find out this meet today is nothing compared to the wild time we’ll have at the Florida State Swim and Dive Meet in Orlando. One gigantic party, and now you will be there too. I can’t wait to share. The dates are coming up fast, in mid-November.
I wipe my face with my tattered lucky towel and wave it at you. My mind drifted back to The Kiss. Are you thinking about it, too? My tummy does another flip-flop at the possibility. Weak-kneed again, I sink onto the team bench.
“Somebody has it bad.” My bestie Melissa nudges me.
“What?” I pull myself out of my daydream. Again.
You're sitting there with a big grin on your face, Sara. I'm convinced your dive isn't making you happy.
Gazing into the shimmering pool, I lean in close and whisper, "Danny gave me a kiss for luck last night."
“Wow! How was it? Tell me!" She clutches my elbow and leans in for the deets.