Chapter One ~ Katy

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~~This book is respectfully dedicated to all girls, boys, women, and men living with eating disorders.~~

Brisk morning air sucks warmth from my body. The board is rough, solid, and familiar. Predictable. It bends under my weight. Scrapes the bottoms of my feet and toes. Below, a layer of fog ghosts across the surface of the pool. Above, the sky is pale violet, bleeding red and gold where sunrise breaks behind dark trees.

 Sky. Water. Silence. Everything waiting to be broken.

 Breathe in. Breathe out.

Five solid steps and I make my approach. Reach up. Bounce. Lift. A moment of weightlessness at the top of the dive, then a plunge into blood warm water. A rush of silence and muffled sounds and I resurface. Gulp air. Three long strokes to the edge of the pool. The concrete deck is like a slab of ice. 

Standing above me, another diver swears and stamps his feet. "It's cold."

"Hey, Pete, throw my towel over?" I ask, and pull myself up. Pete kicks my towel to the edge of the pool with his toe. I hoist myself to the deck, stand and wrap the towel around my shoulders. Cold air hits me and my teeth start chattering.

"It's too early for this," Pete grumbles as he grasps the rail of the ladder and makes his climb.

I lick water off my upper lip and look out across the pool. The ripples from my dive have faded, leaving only the thinning layer of fog over the smooth water. Pete is lazy and would rather be sleeping. Not me. I love morning practices. Diving, to me, is like flying. Floating in the still sky before the sun rises is perfection. Breaking the surface first, when the night mist still mixes with the steam. That first plunge into bath-warm water and the chill of climbing out. I love every second of it. Diving is my life.

I am willing to give anything, sacrifice everything, to be the best.

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