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“Mia!” Screamed her friend, looking up the cliffside toward her, “Mia, get down from there!”
Mia Geyn, 14, just laughed as her long red hair whipped around her in the strong wind, and called down, “Jeeze, Mara! You sound like my mother!”
Mara rolled her eyes and yelled, “I don’t care! Just get down from there before you fall down!”
Mia sighed, exasperated. None of her friends understood her need to be high. And the kind of high she needed wasn’t the kind you could get from any drug, nor from the greatest love, nor the biggest adrenaline rush. The kind of high she wanted you could only get when you were far above the ground. Since she was little, she’d climbed anything she could. When Mia was a baby, she’d climbed the sides of my playpen and crib. When she was a toddler, she’d climbed chairs and table legs. When she was a small child, she discovered the wonder that is trees, and climbed every tree in the small town in which she lived. Now, at the age of 14, I wanted to climb bigger, higher, more dangerous things, much to the despair of her parents, friends and now ex-boyfriend.
Everyone she loved thought she was insane, but that didn’t stop her.
“Damn,” she muttered, then, “Fine! I’m coming down!” Mia moved to reach for her last foothold…but couldn’t find it. The unexpected lack of somewhere to place her weight was too much for her two hands to bear, and they slipped from the sandy, rocky surface and she fell. She’d fallen many times before in her life – when you climbed as much as she did, it was unavoidable. But she’d never fallen this far before. The drop though the air seemed to take ages, but soon enough, she hit the ground with a solid THUMP and saw no more.
The world shrank below Mia, as if her vision was zooming out. Before too long, it was no more than a blue and white ball, no bigger than her hand. And then, as if the sea of stars laid out before her was a giant movie screen, she saw – saw, but not heard – Mara, kneeling on the ground next to her body. Tears streamed down the girl’s face, then she stood and bolted toward town, just barely visible on top of the closest hill.
Mia saw her running into her living room, where her mother was sitting, watching TV. Mia saw the words form on Mara’s lips, although she couldn’t hear them. “Mia- fallen- not moving- get help.”
Her mother jumped up and grabbed the car keys, and began pulling Mara with her…and the scene faded.
When it came back, it was very bright – the sun shone bright and clear, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. But there were clouds in the faces of the people gathered under the oak tree in the town’s graveyard. They were clad in black, and in the front were Mia’s mother and father and younger brother. Her grandma was there too, and so was Mara and Jake, her ex-boyfriend. Many of the women were clutching handkerchiefs or tissues, and as the scene zoomed out, Mia saw why.
Suspended over a hole was a dark wooden box. Her casket. The tears began to cascade down her face as she watched herself be buried.
It was too much for the teen to bear. She broke down and cried, loudly, wailing, almost hoping that the people might hear her. Jake looked up and, at first it seemed, looked at her. But his eyes were out of focus…he was looking through her. But he must have heard her. Mara looked up too, and her mother, but all three of them looked in different directions, none of them looking at her.
“I love you all!” Mia cried, while she could still be sure they would hear her, “I’m sorry!”
But then the screen went black, and she began to fly again. She had wanted to fly like this all her life but, funny, right now, she’d give anything to have her feet back on solid ground again. To be back with her family and friends…
But she never would.