^This is our mascot. If you don't love him, you are wrong.
I was my father's shadow, wanting to be just like him, wanting to do as he did. So when he announced that he was going to jump off the highest rock I knew I was too. We made our way up the green and onto the gray, where the view down made my mother and sisters look like the tiny mosquitoes we swatted away.
Heart in throat. Stomach filling with the tingle of butterflies, I watched my dad step off the edge and into the water. I reconsidered. Doing this could be my demise. If I didn't jump far enough I would crash against the rocks. If I jumped too far I would land on the circle of people watching and cheering. If I didn't jump at all I would die of shame, a failure. And I was fourteen, a month away from high school. A month away from jumping into the rigorous (or not) academics that would lead me to college. A month away from beginning the first set of four that would shape me out of adolescence and into adulthood. A month away from the edge, as I was just an inch away from the ledge.
Holding my breath, willing my organs to stay in place. I jumped.