“Go!” He heard Jimmy’s encouragement when suddenly the board lurched beneath his knees, causing him to hiss, “Shit!” Everything seemed so much wobblier and way narrower as his arms began to tremble under his weight. With his arms growing weak and his legs beginning to stiffen, he forced one hand to release its grip. His eyes locked on the dark drop into the concrete hole, and he felt the board shift and shake. Stephen’s heart stopped, feeling as though it stuck to his ribs, and his free hand flailed desperately for a steadying handhold. His palm slapped a stud rising at his side, and he grabbed it.
“Come on!” Jimmy’s voice rose in exasperation. “Move!”
Stephen couldn’t. As he tried to regain his balance, he still had one hand latched tight to the board on which he knelt. His heart caught its rhythm, and his lungs filled once again. He pried his eyes off the black pit and looked toward his goal at the end of the plank. Yes, he thought to himself, walk the plank. He pried his other hand free of the board on which he balanced and grabbed for a grip on the stud. His shoulders and back cramped with the stress as he twisted his hips to face the upright two by four.
“Don’t rush me!” Stephen pulled himself, hand over hand, up the stud to stand upright and balance on wobbling legs.
But did you finish? He could hear his dad’s voice in his head. “It doesn’t matter if you’re afraid. We all are,” his dad would say. “But the brave go anyway.”
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