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I was out on my boat, the Eaglet, for what seemed the millionth time that summer. Once more, my dad and brother had persuaded me to come out and try to water-ski again.

I was standing in the middle of my boat, staring at the slightly rippling water, and wishing I had stayed home with my mom instead of coming out on the river. The murky, brown waters of the mighty Mississippi stared back at me, as if challenging me to jump in.

I involuntarily shivered. I turned toward my dad and said, "Dad, can't I try this some other time?"

He sighed, "Emily, won't you please try again? Tonight might be the night you get up! Even Jacob wants you to try," he pleaded with me.

My brother Jacob gave me his most pitiful, puppy-dog look.

I realized I had lost the argument. Even so, I thought, I'm only seven years old! How am I supposed to do this?!

I heaved a big sigh and started to get my two wooden water skis out. When I had them out, I gingerly lowered myself into the murky Waters of the river.

I sucked in my breath as the cold water swirled around my body. My dad carefully gave me one ski. I twisted and turned as I fought with the current to get it on. Finally, my foot slid into place. My dad threw the other ski to me, and I went through the same ordeal to get it on. Then, it slid into place too.

Wings of Water girl doing water ski
I couldn't believe what I had been missing all these years

My dad tossed me the rope. "Remember, bend your knees, and keep your skis in front of you. Just stand up and let the boat do all the work. You can do it, Em!"

The motor hummed as my dad turned the key. The boat slowly started to pick up the slack on the rope. As it tightened, I tried to remember all the things that my dad had told me, but they seemed to have flown from my head.

Finally, the rope was tight. I felt like I was dreaming. Distantly, I heard my dad shouting, "Just yell when you're ready to go!"

I took a deep breath, and wondering if I would ever do this, filled my lungs with air and hollered, "Hit it!"

There was a roar as the engine sped up, and water was flying into my face. I gritted my teeth, and grimly hung on for dear life as I started to rise out of the water.

Suddenly, it was over, and I was skimming across the water!

I couldn't believe it! I shouted from pure triumph and joy, while in the Eaglet my brother and dad were jumping up and down, waving their arms and yelling. On my face was a huge grin. I felt as if I was on top of the world!

I couldn't believe what I had been missing all these years. The spray, the roar of the motor, and wind whipping across my face were all part of my total happiness.

I felt as if I were flying. On my face was a happy smile as I soared off into the sunset on the wings of water.

Wings of Water Emily Heninger
Emily Heninger, 11
Bettendorf, Iowa

Wings of Water Susie Speicher
Susie Speicher, 13
Lakewood, Washington