Zipline This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     I slid my legs into the straps. This wasn’t going to be so hard. It was only a zipline, after all. The spiraling metal staircase carried me up. Suddenly I was 10 feet above solid ground. A breeze rustled the trees, shaking the flimsy staircase. I gripped the railing with slippery hands and imagined the stairs toppling as the breeze drifted gently.

I told myself I had to go back, even if it meant making a fool of myself in front of all these people. But my legs refused to listen, continuing to climb steadily. Why on earth was I doing this? I hated heights.

Finally I reached the platform and peeked over the edge. That was my first mistake. I reeled back. No! I thought frantically, dizziness blurring my vision. Don’t look down! Look up. Always up.

Another breeze caught the platform, swaying it alarmingly. I grabbed the support pole and clung to it like a lifeline, breathing hard and clenching my eyes shut. “Here,” I heard a voice say, as though from far away. “I’ve got to rope you in.”

I opened my eyes. A woman was clipping my harness to a rope with the sort of quick efficiency that told me she’d seen it all: confident kids, scared kids, and kids who would rather die a slow death by torture than take the leap. I didn’t want to open my mouth - I was afraid I’d throw up all over her - but I had to explain. I had to get off this thing before they made me jump. “I don’t want to do it,” I said, careful to stare at the rope she was clipping to my harness so I wouldn’t see the ground, so far below. “It’s all right,” she said calmly, with a final clank of clip against harness.

The zipline stretched from the platform over a wide expanse of boulders. “One!” she called.

I felt really sick now, staring down at those sharp rocks. “Two!”

Surely a cord this thin couldn’t support me. Surely I’d slip out of the harness. “Three!” she shouted.

Everyone else jumped. I could see them riding along, every second getting farther away and making me feel more and more like an idiot. I told myself to jump now before too many people noticed, but my legs wouldn’t obey.

Finally, I took a deep breath and leapt into the air. It goes against all instincts to jump from a 50-foot platform, whether you’re attached to a cord or not. My brain - and, subsequently, my heart, which did an abrupt cartwheel before going numb - screamed this to me in the time it took for my body to surrender to gravity and the life-saving, but still perilously thin, cord.

Finally I stopped. My whole body was shaking, and my heart was pounding faster than ever, but I had a new feeling too. Exhilaration.

I raced up the hill to do it again.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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MistyVenture said...
Sept. 30, 2013 at 5:35 pm
You are a wonderful writer! You used great imagery, wonderful personification, and your grammar was spot on. Your writing style, first person of course since it's a memoir, made me feel like I was there – no. It made me feel like it was me, sitting up on the zipline fifty feet from the ground as my heart was screaming that I was being an idiot. At the end, you made me grin. I thoroughly enjoyed this posting. 
 
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