We were in northern New Hampshire. John and I had just hiked to the top of the mountain during our break at summer camp. We could see for what seemed like miles, over the brush to the rolling hills beyond.
“Looks like it’s time for us to get back to camp,” John said, after taking some photos.
“Hey John, I bet I could beat you to the bottom!” I challenged.
“Fine, let’s go!” John replied.
We began to run, the trees flying past us. Then, as perfectly as if it were a scene from a movie, I tripped over a root and began to tumble. I rolled ahead of John and came to an extremely large boulder that ended with a 15-foot drop off to a long, flat rock.
I hit the side of the massive rock and bounced along toward the drop off. There were a few plants growing from the rock as my world spun and I thought I had spotted one that could save me from the plunge. I grabbed it and held on with all my strength, but it broke and I slid down the rock. Then I came to the edge. As I began to slip off, I found a large crack in the rock and managed to hold on, my body hanging off the boulder.
“John!” I cried in desperation.
“I’m coming! I’m nearly there,” John said, his voice getting closer.
From behind a bush I saw John running to save me. My fingers began to slip and I thought for sure I would plummet to the rock below. Just as I was about to give up, I felt a rough hand on mine.
“I’ve got you. Hold on!” John yelled.
I felt a surge of adrenaline rush through me and found that I could hold on a bit longer - long enough for him to pull me up and flop me on top of the rock.
“Thanks, I don’t think I could have held on any longer,” I said, breathlessly.
“No problem, man, I just wasn’t sure if I could make it in time,” John replied kindly. “Let’s just get back down to camp in one piece.”
“Yeah, I think I could try to do that,” I replied sarcastically.
We continued down the mountain, this time at a much slower pace. As we reached the trail that led back to the cabins, John produced his digital camera.
“I think everyone will love this,” he said, chuckling.
“Here, take a look.”
He handed me his camera. There was a picture of me hanging off the rock, my feet dangling and my mouth wide open, screaming. My spirits sank as I realized I would never hear the end of this.
“Yeah, I managed to take a quick snapshot of you in all your glory right before I pulled you up,” John explained.
“Any chance that you won’t show it to anyone?” I asked, already knowing the answer.
“Nope, not a chance in the world,” he promised.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.