Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

The Rope of Death This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Custom User Avatar
More by this author

Sweat dripped down my face as I stared at the rope. Dangling from the rafters, it spanned the length of the entire building, and I was terrified. I was just six years old, and I felt that there were better ways to die. Of course, I had no desire to die, but my coach was urging me upwards. If I had known that gymnastics could be life-threatening, I would never have asked to sign up for the class.

 

My thoughts were interrupted as the kid behind me yelled, “Get a move on, Matt!” By then, the sweat had trickled down towards my hands, and I felt them becoming clammy. I began to make my way towards the rope, my legs shaking, and my tiny sneakers squeaking beneath me. My arms felt heavy as I reached for the rope. I turned around, and spied the gawking faces of my peers.


As my hand grasped the spiky rope, the sandpaper texture scratched my skin, causing my thumb to bleed. I could hear my coach yelling my name as he tried to encourage me. His words helped for a moment, but my fear returned in spite of his good intentions. I raised my other hand and grasped the rope. I looked up, and began my horrifying climb towards the bell at the top. I barely made it two feet off the ground, when the burning of the rope caused me to let go. I slipped and fell upon the mat below.


The coach approached me and tried to soothe me, by saying, “It’s okay, Matt. Just get up and try again.” I wiped the fresh tears from my eyes and stood up. My legs began to tremble as I approached it again. I had no desire to climb the rope at all, but I did not want to disappoint my coach. Once again, I grabbed the rope of death, and resumed my climb. I tried to be confident, with limited success, and jumped to give myself momentum. This time, I was able to get my feet on the rope as I held on . I remained frozen for a moment, but soon regained a bit of my earlier confidence. I started to climb the scratchy rope as the other kids cheered me on. I only made it a few feet higher than my first attempt, before I lost my focus and fell again. The drop hurt more this time because of the distance that I had fallen, and I could not hold back the tears.  I struggled to my feet, and ran out of the gym as fast as I could, letting the tears flow. I raced into the waiting room where my mother was reading a book to pass the time. The moment that she saw my face, she rested her book on the empty seat beside her, and comforted me. I explained what had happened, and she held my scraped hands. She asked if I wanted to return to the gym and try again, but I refused, begging her to take me home. I announced that I would never do gymnastics, or climb a rope, ever again.


After my encounter with the “Rope of Death,” my fear of heights would only increase over time. Even now, I struggle to control my fear when faced with the most simple things, whether it be climbing a ladder, or looking out of the window of a tall building. If I had the chance, I would not go back and try to climb the rope again. My fear of heights controls who I am and what I do, and I believe I would only end up in the exact same situation. I am content with the fact that I could not face my fear, even though it has reduced the amount of things that I am willing to do.






Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback