2. The Edge


A girl swan dives off a bridge into a river below as a boy watches hesitantly from the bridge above

The bridge was beautiful and made of oak, solid beneath my feet. We were standing halfway across the canyon, the waterfall in the distance spilling over the cliff and into a river that was at least forty or fifty feet below us. We could hear the roar of the water avalanching over the cliff but below us the river was gentle and clear and serene.

“Are you ready?” she asked me, taking my hand and leading me to the broken section of railing. “It’s a real rush. Every time I do it I feel like I’m brand new again.”

Standing here now, looking down at the waters so far below us, something coiled inside of my stomach and my bladder. My euphoria seemed very far away now.

She was comfortable standing much closer to the edge than I was.

I tried to think of something else to say. To buy time. I tried to remember if I was a good swimmer, if I knew how to dive.

She walked right to the edge and looked down, smiling, then looked back at me.

“I thought you said you were ready to be in love with life,” she said.

“I’m in love with living,” I replied. “Not in love with dying.”

Her smile then wasn’t what I thought it would be, gentle and more than a little sad.

“Being in love with living IS being in love with dying,” she said.

Then she stepped off the edge.