by J. Y. Sun
Jeremy and Julia are friends. One day, Jeremy bets Julia can't outwim a fish. Can she?
To outswim a Fish
Jerry had been friends with Julia for 7 years now. They were both 16, both liked painting, and most of all, loved challenging each other. They always saw who could run faster, eat faster, crawl faster, and everything that they could think of.
Also, Julia loved to swim. She had started swimming when she was only 3, and started to go to the pool every day from age 5. By age 8, she was in a swim team, and winning every other game. Jeremy already knew that, because once he bet fifty dollars that he could swim faster than her. That was a huge mistake.
It was Saturday. A light breeze cooled the air. Jeremy and Julia were laying down next to a warm river, filled with different kinds of fish. The reason why is that it was at least 2½ miles from anyone, and even then, it was just the tip of the suburb, where Julia and Jeremy’s families lived.
When a swift, silver fish swam against the current, Jeremy said: “I bet you 55 dollars that you can’t outswim a fish.”
“Are you sure? Because I’m in. And I’m going to win this bet.”
“Okay, then. Do it.”
“Okay. Let’s get out a fish.”
Soon, Julia was in her bathing suit, looking at the fish struggling next to her in Jeremy’s hand. She dived.
Unfortunately, the fish went against the tide. Julia didn’t care. She was a champion. She was faster than a slimy, boring fish. With all her strength, she pushed against the waves, looking sternly for a moment at the orange fish through the chaos.
The current was brutal. While the fish was swimming at a snail’s pace, she wasn’t even moving, barely staying in the same place, the swift and rock-hard current beating her up. This wasn’t going to end well.
A few minutes later, it was obvious she wasn’t going to beat the fish. She shamefully swam back to shore, making sure not to be sucked into the current. Jeremy saw the look of shame, and stifled a grin. Julia shivered for a second, and said: “Well, you won. I think that there’s five ten-dollar bills and a five-dollar bill in my pocket.”
Jeremy stood up. A few seconds later, she said: “Wait. I have another bet. If I can beat the fish one month from now, I can keep the money, and get five dollars. If I don’t outswim the fish, I have to pay you sixty dollars. Deal?”
Only a day later, in the early morning of Sunday, she set out to practice for the bet. She had told her mom and dad that she was going to the river, and her mother had said she had to wear sunscreen. That had annoyed her. After changing into her swimsuit, she dived in. Last night, she had taken 45 minutes to weightlift and make sure she was prepared for the day. Now it was the time. She dived in.
The same outrageous current forced against her. She pushed with every muscle she had, and with every fiber of her being. She moved. Not a whole lot, but a little faster than a snail. Again and again, she pushed with her soul and her muscles, while her legs sprung up like springs.
She practiced every day. After school, she would practice. Before dinner she would practice. For a few weeks, she even had to temporarily pause her friendship in order to practice. After every dinner, she would exercise, lifting weight, running on the treadmill, and whatever would help her. As the month started to come to a close, she worked even more. As much as she possibly could. Until her lungs and legs and arms and hands and body begged her to stop.
After an amazing thirty days, it was time. She ran to the river, and waited for 10 whole minutes for Jeremy to arrive. She changed into her bathing suit, while Jeremy took out an orange fish from a small tank. Jeremy explained: “I decided to use the same fish so that it was actually accurate.”
She kicked and pushed with all she was worth, with her soul, her body, down to every last cell in her arms, legs, hands, and feet. This was it. This was all she had trained for, all the hours devoted to mastering the unmasterable. If she lost the bet, then all that was for nothing. She flashed to her side, surprised to see the fish a foot behind her, losing the race.
After some time of swimming, Jeremy shouted out to Julia: “Okay then! You win! Come back!”, and with that, like she had practically lived in the water her whole life, she leaped backward, gracefully turning and landing onto the shore, panting. In front, a five-dollar bill awaited her.
Julia took her money, thanked Jeremy, and ran to her house without stopping once to catch her breath. Julia yelled all the way there: “I did it! I beat the fish! I beat the fish!”
She went to her room, lying on the bed, looking with joy at the five-dollar bill in front of her. She was going to frame this on the wall tomorrow.
Julia thought for a second: She had truly won against the aquatic animal that knew how to swim from its birth. This was the real championship. She had outswum a fish.