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Louise Lord

Redmaids’ High School, Bristol

I looked him straight in the eyes and said, ‘Weak.’
            His letter remained unopened – It sat there teasing, camouflaged with dust.
            I had the guts to open mine the night It arrived. We only get one chance to find out. I grasped It. ‘47 – car accident’. A rough age and explanation. All I needed – my life-deadline.
            It takes a lot of courage to unveil your future. Not everyone can. In truth he didn’t want to know.
            Yet clearly he did: he spent every day pondering. Every day he stared, still unable to pick It up.
            Many of his nights were sleep-deprived – constant waking, constant night-time walks to visit It. Checking up on It, reassuring himself It was still there.
            Wasting time. Time spent worrying isn’t living. He’d stopped living the night It arrived.
            ‘Enough is enough,’ he said. He hurled It in the bin.
            I opened It. ‘10:24 a.m. 27th February 2014 – drowning.’ It was now 10:13.
            I froze. My heart was pulsing. I sprinted to his room. A single photograph lay on his bed – he won his first open-water swimming trophy aged 10.
            I knew exactly where to go.
            I arrived at Henleaze Lake. 10:21.
            He was nowhere to be seen – not by his truck, not in the café, not on the bank …
            And yet, there he was, gliding across the water under the sun’s rays. He looked fluid, peaceful.
            He scooted down under the water.
            And then I knew. I’d pushed him too far.