The Leap

He imagined leaping from the roof of his three story farmhouse. The rocky ledge stood that high over the roiling pool at the foot of the waterfall below him. The other boys, already treading water, his so-called friends, hollered and beckoned, their laughing faces upturned, squinting into the afternoon sun. The rolling thunder of the rushing cascade nearby drowned their voices and all other sound, save the inner voice that taunted him.

Across the river, on a shelf of rock, her body stretched out full length to take the warmth of the sun, the girl with long, dark hair lifted her head from her pillow of crossed hands, and raised her languid eyes to meet his.

One step covered the distance to the edge, and he threw himself into sunlight and space, hurtling downward with the speed of abandon. The pinch in his gut grew as the black water rushed toward him. His feet broke the surface, and he raised his triumphant arms as his body plummeted beneath the cold, clear water. His eyes opened, and he saw near his right shoulder the submerged rock the older boys had warned against.

maxresdefaultBroaching the surface, he shook the hair and water from his eyes. His new brotherhood clamored about him, slapping his back and dunking his head again and again.

He strained against them to look up to the shelf of sunlit rock, but she had turned her drowsy head and nestled it upon her folded hands once more.

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