Falling Ten Metres
Gabrielle Nielsen, Grade 12
How long does it take to fall ten metres?
As a child, Daniela had often pondered this; her thoughts motivated by near misses from falling branches. That and the idea of getting away from the crude words that often found themselves floating through the tropical leaves of the garden, travelling from the mouths of her parents. She’d always thought she’d get away from those ugly words eventually.
Daniela had grown up with her younger sister Jemmy, both of whom had heard the swear words that would journey through the evergreen. As a result, Daniela had grown sick and tired of listening to them, while instead Jemmy loved them and used them constantly.
On the eve of Daniela’s 22nd birthday she finally confronted her sister, telling her how much she hated it when she swore, how much she wanted her to stop. The whole neighbourhood had heard the argument. A pan or two had even been thrown.
Two years later and Daniela’s 24th birthday was rapidly approaching. The situation had reached new heights. Since their huge argument Jemmy had made it her goal to annoy Daniela as much as humanly possible, believing there to be no consequences. She was wrong.
The next night Daniela released her anger. The next night Jemmy became familiar with freezing water. The next night Jemmy could no longer speak, her lips sewn shut. The next night Jemmy was at the bottom of a lake.
Daniela didn’t regret it. Her sister would never swear again. But, looking down at her, as she sank to the bottom, she thought; how long does it take to fall through ten metres of water?