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My dearest Husband (how odd and fresh the word still is),
I once told a guy I was afraid of falling (for him, for anyone) but I don’t think that’s true anymore. I’m more afraid of landing. The fall is fun it is just when you land that it hurts. And in his case, he said he would catch me. That never really happens though because the faster and further you fall the less there ever is to stop you. So in the end someone always does hit the ground and it hurts. So is it better to enjoy the fall and get bruises at the bottom? Or never jump and stay nice and safe at the top? And a bit lonely.
I don't know what to think of anything anymore. I guess I am trying to jump. Around my neck hangs the cross, an irony that I of all people should have a cross so near my heart but everything is an irony these days. Like your hand encasing mine in that black limo we rode in. The cross's swing between my breasts is a still unnatural feeling but I worry more for the day when it is natural. You know none of this, of course, even if you were the one who draped it over my head. What does it mean to me: it means that I have to watch my explanation so I don't say God, it means I have to wake up stupidly early on Sunday, it means I pretend even more than I used to, it means you.
You are the reason. The only reason as much as you try to tell me different. The line of hair running down your navel, the feel of you pressed against my back, the look I get when I try to leave to go to work in the mornings. I smile even writing of it but now wonder if it is enough.
It is Tuesday afternoon, about 2:00. A normal middle to a normal day. Not a normal start because a start isn't normal. It's different because it could go any direction where a middle is already stuck in the middle. It almost has to follow to the end. Or just stop. Most middles do that. They end up lazy and just pretend to be finishing. When they are actually just stuck in there unmoving state of nonbeing.
I don’t want to be nonbeing anymore. I am going to leave this paper here on the kitchen counter, please remember to open the windows when you get home if it is not raining. I am going to walk out of this house that is supposed to be ours but does not feel that way. I am going. Don’t miss me.
Love (or something close),
My toes curl around the edge of the railing. My arms flail a bit as my jacket is whipped by the wind. There is a lump in my throat that grows when I look down into the swirling darkness. I think of nothing. Then jump.
As I fall I think, this should be the end. Isn't this were the story usually stops? I don’t feel afraid just a bit annoyed that I am still thinking. Only then does it hit me that this fall really is fun. I can feel the air rushing through my hair and fingers; then a weird sensation of the air rushing through my body too. I don’t feel solid and reach down to touch my feet to be sure they are really there. My fingers grab nothing, I am no longer a solid object. Still, I feel no fear just curious.
"Mirage," a strong voice states. I spin to look and notice the objects that are rushing past me as I fall. Not sure if they are calling my name, or providing a word for what I am right now I call out, "What?" but my voice comes out muted and distorted.
I try to settle into the feeling of falling, it seems it will be a longer fall then I had anticipated. Something glitters in my peripheral vision. A pair of sparkly red shoes, little girl sized, scuffed from wear. An image pops into my brain of looking down and seeing those shoes on my feet.
I was in a crowd being pushed and shoved. The warm hand I held slipped out of my grasp and I stumbled in the concrete ground. I was about five and lost in the middle of the city. I should have stood up and started sobbing until a police man took me to the safe hand I had held. But I didn’t, instead I lay on the filthy ground and stared up at the giants rushing over me. Their big feet crushed my little bones into the sidewalk but I didn’t feel a thing. It was as if I was only a cloud. My mind was blank and it was pleasant listening to the soft thumps around my head. Out of nowhere a hand was grabbing mine and pulling me to my feet. I struggled against it. All I wanted was to lay back and rest awhile. The hand was persistent and I was soon up right. The five year old me tried to see whose hand I held but it slipped away. I started sobbing like I was supposed to and only then was I found and returned.
As quickly as I was in the image I was out of it and back to falling. That was strange, I hadn't remembered the story going like that, my family had always said I was lost for just a few minutes once upon a time.
I saw a feather drift upwards swirling with gravity. I tried to grab it but it slipped through my fingers that were not really there. I could feel the softness tickle my skin and opened my eyes to a trail winding through the forest. I remembered this trail, it was one near the house I grew up in. Suddenly at my feet fell a girl. For some reason this didn’t shock me, but I glanced down and saw a mangled me at about 16. I looked up and saw the tall wooden tower we used to climb. Standing at the top was a tall figure looking down. The sun was blinding and I saw only a silhouette.
I blinked and was back in the present, but I knew what day that was. I had gone for a jog alone and climbed the tower even though I was already late. At the top I felt almost free; almost disconnected from life. I saw the feather floating back and forth just past the railing. I reached out trying to grab it, trying to reach past the material world. I didn’t care if I fell, maybe I even wanted to. Just when I thought I almost had it I felt a hand grasp my other wrist and yank backwards. There was a thud as I fell to the wooden planks, safe and far from the edge. I had run back down those steps and all the way home. Not thinking about that day ever again.
Now a ring flies past; my wedding ring. It is the day he asked me to marry him; we had dated so long. He is down on his knee in the perfect cliche proposal. I feel the smile on my lips as I reach out to touch the ring, about to whisper yes. Once more I feel a hand encircle my wrist and I glance down, but nothing is there, nothing physical. Not remembering the other times I pull away once more. I pull and pull till the tip of my finger touches the ring, and the hand is gone like it was never there. I forget instantly and say yes, falling into his arms.
Back once again to falling, the air around me seems to darken and it is thick to breath. I feel not afraid but sad, finally allowing myself to think back to our life together. He was a best friend, but what did he know of me. He knew what I didn’t want, who I wasn’t. We had a perfect pattern, we were the perfect couple. But did I really resent leaving the warm bed each morning? Or did I just fool myself into thinking so. That was the reason I had jumped, to save him from being fooled and to save me from fooling myself.
The air is getting thicker and wetter, it turns to water, the black swirling water that I first expected. I open my mouth to gasp and liquid fills my lungs. It is happening at last. Of course it is then again that I feel the hand grabbing mine. I start to pull away but stop. I let myself be dragged upward past the objects of my past. The water rushes past my mistakes and lies washing them away and I break to the surface. The hand drags me onto the grassy bank and I glance down to see who it is attached to.
It is solid, very real and holding my write softly. It is a man's hand, one I have never seen before. Somewhat afraid, I glance to his face and see a rather ordinary guy about the same age as me. Handsome, but what strikes me only at the time is the look in his eyes, as if he actually cares.
I let my held fall back onto the grass and close my eyes. "I just want to rest awhile," I mumble.
I am not afraid, I never really was. Maybe I will open my eyes and if I do I know that I will see him above me making sure I am safe. Maybe I will open my eyes and learn who he is, learn to know myself as he learns to know me. If I do not, or if I do, his fingers will stay intertwined in mine making sure that I only jump when I know that there is someone there who truly will catch me. Reminding me to jump only when I know that I am ready for whatever is at the bottom.