Between a Rock and a Cool Place: Courageous or Crazy?

Libby Rea offers the fourth guest essay on readers’ most courageous moments. (Click for contest details and to submit your own entry.) Remember that one iPod nano goes to the winner of the essay contest, and the second to a commenter at random, so add your thoughts after you’ve read what Libby has to say.

Libby Rea

Gutsy. That’s the word I would use to describe the one thing in my short years I’ve been on this planet that was the slightest bit courageous. I’d never forget it.

It all started when my family pulled up into the campsite of pretty much the whole maternal side of my family. It was that time in your life folks, the one and only. Family reunion. We all get out of the car, stiff-legged, some more anxious than others. My sister just kind of sits there until my dad tells her to get out.

I run up to my cousin and her friend. “Hey Larissa!” She was the only family member who was even close to my age. Luckily, we get along together fairly well, and it wasn’t a problem seeing her.

She immediately steppes forward and says, “Wanna see something cool?” in a casual low voice, like I’d been there for hours, not seconds.

I blink a few times, and reply, “Sure?” Larissa and her friend surge forward, without a single glance back in her mom’s direction. “Hey Aunt Deb!” I call, while high-tailing it out there, “We’ll be back!” She nods, and goes back to chatting with my mom.

It felt like we walked for ages through the campsite. Finally, we stop at a bush, with a small gap in the middle. “There it is.” The friend of Rissa’s points.

I nod like I understand how awesome this is, and say, “Wow. That is so cool. So, what’s your name?”

“Oh!” She shook her curly hair, and said, “I’m CeeCee, Larissa’s Best Friend.” Like it was a big deal or something. She looks over at Rissa to confirm and Rissa nods.

“Okay then….. Wanna go back?” I suggest, my stomach pains growing stronger each second we stayed here dawdling.

They laugh, and go through the bush, leaving me gaping. ‘Should I? Or should I not?’ That was the question of the hour.

I decide to stick with them, mostly because I have no clue where I am right now.

Behind the dense wall of shrub, I here laughter, and water lapping across a rock repeatedly. ‘A beach!’ I think, and race towards the sound. As I bust out of the “forest”, I see Larissa sitting on a boulder, legs dangling. “We call it the Rock.” CeeCee says proudly.

“How original…” I mutter, and cross over to them. Below us is a sea of blue, and huge boulders outline my vision. “This is amazing!” I shout, and my voice bounces off the valley. “I know, right?” She says. “The only problem is, we want to jump in.”

I cock my head. “So? Jump in.”

Larissa sighs loudly, “God Libby. We don’t know how deep it is.”


I walk up to the edge, and peer down. “How about I jump off and then you guys come?” Easier said than done.

They give me a thumbs- up. “We promise.” Larissa says solemnly.

“Wait.” CeeCee declares, “What if it’s like, 5 feet deep?”

I shrug. “Then we’ll see.” I step to the very edge, and look down.

And immediately look back up. ‘Oh boy’. What had I gotten myself into? Me and my big mouth.

I can hear impatient whisper behind me. “Is she gonna do it?”, then, “God! Hurry up!”

My body shakes from the toes way up to my hand. I squeeze my eyes shut.

And jump.

I’m suspended into thin air for seconds, then I fall into the water. My feet touch nothing. A soft sigh escapes me, relieved from the burden of my stupidity.

My head pops up. “Come on in! It’s great!” I shout. It takes some coaxing, but I finally get them to come in.

So there you have it. The most courageous thing I’ve done was on a borderline between thoughtless, and crazy. But I didn’t care. The feeling of the wind on my feet, rushing down was amazing, and those girls looked up to me in awe and respect after that.

The question I get asked most frequently is, “Was it worth it? Was it worth getting scared half to death, and jumping to your possible eminent doom?”

My answer: “Heck yea.”

Is this full-on courage or just plain crazy? Add your comment to be automatically entered in the iPod nano giveaway, and see the previous entries here.

Published by


Author of the Swift Investigations, Mall Cop, and Readaholics mystery series. Ex-Air Force intelligence officer, now a full-time writer. Spying was easier.

19 thoughts on “Between a Rock and a Cool Place: Courageous or Crazy?”

  1. Ok. Let me say a few words. There are many forms of stories, and this is the utmost awesomeness one EVER!! This ROCKS! Libby defiantly know stuff about… you know, writing!! She rocks! It explains about family, friends, family friends, and dealing with things you don’t like. It also explains dealing with fear. When her friends wouldn’t jump in, they were afraid. After they tried something they were afriad of, they found out that it was the best thing on earth. They faced their fears, tried something scary, and they didn’t regret it. I would most defiantly vote this one to win!!:)

  2. Fantastic writing! Sassy, intriguing and a nail-biter all rolled into one! Gutsy is the perfect word to describe this story and this writer. I see great things in her future.

  3. Wow! That took some courage Libby! I love the way you told the story, had me sitting on edge wondering if you would do it. Nice job!

  4. Crazy or courageous…I’d say a little bit of both. Libby describes a situation, which many of us identify with. It called for a spur-of-the-moment decision, a quick assessment of danger and a momentary reflection on how important it was to fit in with a dear family member (and friend) seen not nearly enough. In the span of mere minutes, she found herself free-falling into a cool pool of water and a fabulous moment of acceptance. Admittedly, it was a dangerous risk, but certainly many of us can understand what propelled Libby to test and prove herself. Loved the voice of her piece and in my mind’s eye, I watched the entire event, wildly grinning to myself. I saw three special girls connect and respect…with one another. Hooray

  5. Totally amazing story. A bit of both for me. As a mother I read the story and thought “boy will you be in trouble when you get back to the campsite.” As a reader I definitely found the story intriguing, funny, and wanting to read more, I found the piece worthy of recognition as a writer. Great job Libby.

  6. Considering Libby had no way of knowing anything about the cool pool of water, this might have been her last jump. Oh, to be young again! lol…

  7. Wow…and this was written by a 13 year old? Amazing and impressive! Great use of descriptive terms, some of them were even hard to understand for this old Dutch lady… As a mother, I was thinking: “NO, what if the water is only 5 feet deep!!” and “don’t give in to peer pressure!” But I do understand that a young girl has to make a statement every now and then, especially to other young girls. Great story, Libby!!

  8. what a great articulation of the spirit of a teenage girl! Well written. It made me feel like I was there… can even picture it in my mind! In life, there are followers and there are leaders. It’s easy to tell by your writing which catagory you fall in! I really enjoyed it!

  9. I like the way you build anticipation into the story. Not only are the girls wondering if you are going to jump, so are your readers. A very impressive piece of writing. Keep up the good work.

  10. Libby, what a great story! I love the description of events, people, the mood and how you kept me wanting to keep reading, as I was not sure what decision you would make. I would recommend reviewing the punctuation and the word, “steppes.” Is this the correct spelling?

    Great work Libby! THANK YOU for the adventure!

    Blessings to you!

  11. The key to a well told story – is to tell the story. We got to see this through the eyes of a 13 year old girl; sharing with her this day, and feeling her anxiety. Libbey, I’m sure that you will face many great moments in your life, and decisions will be made. You showed bravery and some youthfully exhuberant judgement in this decision, but you came out OK in the end. Embrace the moment, learn the lessons of that moment, and continue to move forward in what promises to be a full life.

    P.S. Recommend you use spell/grammar check – it would help with correct word selection and punctuation. The minor errors were not germane to the essence of the story, but affects its marketability.

  12. Thank you so much for all the wonderful comments and feedback! I appreciate it so much! I’m so glad i got to participate in the contest.

  13. I am the Aunt Deb mentioned in the story. When I found out that they had jumped into the water without asking permission from a parent, I was pretty upset. But I remembered back when I was Libby’s age, we did the same thing…without asking. It was some of the best times we ever had. I love your story, Libby. It let me know that you all actually thought about the safety factor and it told me how much you really wanted to bond with your cousin Larissa. You just need to write another story about the annoying boy that kept teasing you guys and how CeCe pretended to “jack” his bike! Wonderful story, very descriptive, especially how you felt as you were falling. I am sending you a picture I took of you jumping off that cliff.

  14. Great story, Libby! If you were one of my daughters, we would have had a few “words” after that, shall we say? 🙂 I shudder when I think about the possibility of one of my girls doing any number of the risky things I did at their (your) age. You’ll have memories for a lifetime!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *