"I know Leslie. I know she's not going to bite my head off or make fun of me if I say I don't want to go over again till the creek's down. All I gotta do is say 'Leslie, I don't wanta go over there today.' Just like that. Easy as pie. 'Leslie, I don't wanta go over there today.' 'How come?' 'How come. Because, because, well because
This quote, which occurs in Chapter 10, summarizes Jess's fear of swinging across the creek to Terabithia after a week of rain when the creek is high. He has always been afraid of the water and of drowning, and with the creek overflowing its banks, he is terrified to swing across it. Jess detests himself for this fear, even as he strives to tell himself that it is not that terrible of a thing and that Leslie will not judge him the way he judges himself. In the above quotation, he recognizes that his reluctance to tell Leslie of his fears is completely out of proportion, and that Leslie will understand. However, he is so ashamed of his fear that he cannot bring himself to speak. He sees fear as something totally shameful, a betrayal of the strong king of Terabithia who is his alter ego. He does not realize sufficiently, at this point, that everyone has fears and that they are a normal. This disgust with himself for his fears torments him through most of the novel. It is not till the very end that he's able to make peace with his fears.