Super Slider

I count the steps to the top of the slide. There are fifty. That’s forty-five too many.

“Um, no thanks, Ms. Henry,” I say. “I don’t want to take my turn.”

There are a bunch of kids waiting behind me.

“What’s taking so long?” asks Alice. “Go on, Josh,” says Finn.

“You don’t have to slide, Josh,” says Ms. Henry. She smiles at me. “But if you want to, I know you can be brave.”

Can I be brave? I’m not sure. I don’t feel brave. I’m super scared.

I step to the side so Alice can take her turn. She climbs up quickly and slides down the long silver chute. She lets out a loud whoop.

Alice runs back to the line and gives me a high five. “You should try it, Josh” she says. “It’s really fun.”

“You can do it!” says Finn. He passes me as he climbs up the steps. I watch him climb and slide. Then I watch all the other kids. Everyone else takes their turn. No one is as scared as I am.

There is no one left in the line. “Do you want to try now, Josh?” asks Ms. Henry. She gives me a nod and another smile. “I know you can do it.”

I don’t know that. But I decide to try. I walk up the steps slowly. I hold the rails so tightly that my fingers turn white.

Finally I’m at the top. I sit down on and get ready to slide. “Yay, Josh!” I hear Alice and Finn call from below.

I speed down the chute. “Woohooo!” I yell. Alice was right. It is really fun.

“You were very brave, Josh,” says Ms. Henry.

“No I wasn’t,” I say. “I was scared. No one else was scared.”

“It’s not really brave to do something you aren’t afraid of,” says Ms. Henry. “Being brave is all about doing things that scare you.”

“Oh,” I say. If that’s true I was super brave to go down that slide. I smile at Ms. Henry. “Thanks,” I say. “I think I’ll slide again tomorrow.”