Alice is perched on the bridge, arms outstretched behind her like a mermaid on a pirate ship. She slips a little on loose gravel as she adjusts her footing. Pebbles ricochet off larger rocks as they plunge into the water, creating a symphony that Alice longs to join. Deep down, she knows jumping is the only way to avoid facing everyone’s disappointment and ridicule, yet second thoughts overcome her again. Alice hangs her head low, heart thumping, and retreats to the safe side of the railing.
“Chicken!” yells Billy as he cannonballs into the river, accompanied by an orchestra of laughter.