It was the middle of winter in the dead of the night. He knew it would be cold and that few would be around at that late hour. He was hoping for a cloudier night, but the winter moon shone brightly through the light mist, lighting up the village on the other side of the river, its buildings reflecting luminously off the river’s glassy surface. The ice crystals near the shore were sparkling like tiny diamonds.
He opened up the gym bag he’d carried across the bridge a few minutes earlier. He removed his gloves, shoes, and socks and placed them into the bag. He took off his heavy jacket and stuffed that into the bag as well. Reluctantly, he stripped out of the rest of his clothing, neatly folding it all and adding the items to the gym bag. He’d come back for it later. At least that’s what he hoped for.
Naked and shivering in the sub-freezing temperature, he walked over to the river’s edge. Sometimes a man has to do what a man has to do, he thought. Not only was his reputation on the line, but his honor as well. He felt he had little choice in the matter. He had to hold up his end of the bargain. There was a lot on the line.
He focused his eyes on the opposite shore, mentally gauging the distance. After taking a deep breath, he dived into the frigid water, breaking the thin crust of ice at its surface. The shock to his system was almost crippling and he suddenly wasn’t so sure that he could make it across. Yet he somehow managed to keep his arms and legs moving. Once he reached the middle of the river, his confidence returned.
His classmates were waiting for him with towels and blankets as he approached the opposite shore and they helped him up and out of the freezing water.
He had survived the river’s icy grip. He won the wager. He won $100.
Written for today’s one-word prompt, “focused.”