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

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   I look down and see nothing, yet everything is there. I look over and see my belayer, ready and watching with the eye of an eagle. I begin moving back, toward the edge, where a sheer drop-off is awaiting me. I move even closer, letting out the rope which is reluctantly holding back to release itself from the teeth of the caribiner. Finally, I am standing on the edge of the cliff, and I look down, nothing but sheer rock ... straight down. I place the balls of my feet on the edge and begin to lean back. I begin to sweat, with my legs trembling out-of-control beneath me and above my mind running wild. What will happen if I step too late? Too early? Will my belayer be able to see me if I fall? With my brake hand tight behind me, I lean back farther and farther until finally I step off the edge onto the slick rock of the cliff. I wait, and let out a deep sigh of relief - and then the fun begins. I loosen my brake hand, push off with my feet, and soar out into the air, coming back to the rock with legs slightly bent and my knees tight. Again, I loosen my brake hand as I push away from the rock, I fly once again. I begin rappelling rapidly from the top. Again, I have left my life in the hands of my belayer, who has total control of my life. Finally I come to the bottom with joy and excitement, for I descended the sheer cliff which I feared only minutes before. I overcame my fear, and now I am ready to do it over again. l


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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