Artistic Discoveries in European Schoolyards

What’s undone


Last day at school, seventh grade. Finally the Headmaster said the magic words: “I wish you all a happy holiday!” Suddenly the gym transformed into an African steppe, and we were a herd of buffaloes, bouldering into the sun, crying out from our hearts: “FREEE!”
We didn’t have a minute to waste. We all headed for Frognerbadet, where we could dive into the pools. On the Metro the spirits were high, everyone talked about all the records they would break; back-flips, bombs and diving from the 5 meter diving board. I had decided to jump from the 10 meter diving tower for the first time. I had spent the whole spring preparing myself, gone through the whole procedure. Step by step. I had seen myself standing at the top, with the view over the whole city. Mustn’t look down, don’t look down! On arrival, everyone rushed to be the first in the pool. We threw ourselves into the water, splashed and played, dived and did underwater handstands. “C’mon, let’s go jumping from the diving towers!” Everyone got out of the pool. “I think I’ll have an ice-cream first”. I stood in the line-up, and went through my jumping-procedure. “A chocolate-cone, please!”
Back on my rug, enjoying my ice-cream, going through the procedure one last time; “stand straight, don’t look down.” A radio played summer hits. “Come on Cathrine!” Kaia did a sommersault from the 3-meter diving board. It was now or never. There was a big line-up to the towers, moving slowly. As I passed the 3 meter, I looked down. A big crowd was waiting, everyone eager to jump, pushing each other impatiently. I turned cold and felt dizzy. And then I knew, I couldn’t do this. I elbowed myself down the steps again – passed Kaia as I said “I have to go to the bathroom” Then I ran to the lockers. What should I say? I had prepared for this, the whole spring! I told them I was sick, and went home. Each time I see a diving tower, I get this same feeling. The overwhelmingly feeling of powerlessness. Bright and clear, it is still there.