Kira's Fell

February 15, 2009
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I stand by the edge of the bluff, leaning on the rusted iron railing, and shake my head scornfully at the backs of the retreating tourists. They shiver, but incorrectly blame it on the approaching night.

Tonight is a special night for me. It is the twelfth anniversary of the night when the girl for whom the bluff was named committed suicide.

Tonight, at exactly midnight, she will give a speech. She will tell her audience that this precipice was not named Kira's Fell to commemorate a girl who hastened her own death, but instead Kira Fell, to describe her actions.

Then she will tell them how she knows this. They will stare at her blankly, disbelief etched into their faces in what seems to be mile-high letters. She'll ask one of them to help her, to please take her place.

They never do.

She will turn and rush to the cliff's edge, take a breath, and dive to the unforgiving sea below.

The audience will surge to the railing, ready to call an ambulance, but will halt when they look down and see nothing there, on the jagged spires of rock. Maybe an extra-perceptive one in the group will notice shattered bones on the ocean's surface, but once they turn their head to tell someone about it, the remnants will vanish.
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And a year from forever, from then, from now, from will be, I gather my courage for the thirteenth time and walk to the clearing on the bluff as the clock strikes twelve.

I tell them about the bluff's name. I tell them how I know. And I ask for someone to help set me free.

I do not expect anyone to answer. I expect no difference this year from the past twelve. But this year, something changes, revolves, fits together. This year, a young girl steps forward, only twelve or thirteen. My age.

She walks slowly, with measured steps, as if I am a deer that will spook with a loud noise or sudden movement from a predator. What she doesn't know is that, in truth, I am more the bobcat than her.

She stops, a foot from me, and looks into my eyes. I do not know what she finds there, but I see in her eyes and impossible mixture of knowledge and innocence, wisdom and ruthlessness.

“Are you afraid?” I ask, but I am not sure who the question is intended for – my mirror or myself.

She smiles, and, on an unspoken agreement, we step into each other's arms. I can feel my body and mind dissolving, hers absorbing and weaving into it.

We turn toward the night sky.

“Release her,” we say, and our voice rings with the power of one who is both dead and alive. “Now!”

The cliff groans, not wanting to relinquish the burden it has kept these long thirteen years. With a final command from us, it slides long-sunk claws out of my soul.

The sister of my death, the mirror that I am of her life, faces me.

“Now you are free,” she says, her voice still ablaze with power, yet at the same time, full of regret. Nobody wants to lose the mirror of their soul.

“I cannot stay,” I reply, and my voice is newly ancient, with the same fathomless measure of mourning as hers. “I do not belong here.”

Nodding once and wiping away the tears that have begun streaking down her face, she turns away. “Goodbye, then.”

“Please. . . don't make the same mistakes I did,” I whisper, summoning one last effort to speak. “And” -so softly she must lean closer in order to hear me- “Thank You.”

I sigh, then rush to the edge, look back at Kira, at the mirror of my soul, face forward once more, and dive off Kira Fell one last time.





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