He couldn’t believe it when she jumped. High on the ledge. One minute she was there and the next gone. Just like that.

All day she had been depressed. As the tears formed he knew she was on her way to a better place. ‘Hey honey, what’s up?’ he’d asked over breakfast. ‘Nothing’ she whispered, head full of clouds. “Just wanna get high.’ But they had to wait. First thing you learn is that you always gotta wait.

Kathy was ‘The Man’ – she had thrown them into it. Older, wiser, she had come to them – “Yesterday I was so high! I mean, really out there! Soooo good!” she pushed the words out between breathless breaths, freeing their minds by capturing their desire. That was the beginning of the fall.

He had loved Kathy, but now Alice was the only one. For a time, all three of them enjoyed the rush together, the speed. Until last week when Kathy ran herself into the ground. His last memory was her smile, uncertain and faded. Last night in a dream, an angel who had come to protect him lost its wings and fell to earth. “I miss her so much!”

It hit Alice hardest. Her perfectly packed backpack was now ripped and torn inside. She just didn’t want to think any more. More than ever now she needed the pure thrill of the rush to cover the pain. Her dream was spiraling towards the ground with zero resistance.

We knew we had to end it. We both knew that this had to be the last time. The risks were too high. Maybe we would be able to pull through. Maybe this time we would hit the ground running. It all seemed so different from up here. Up there everything that was difficult became easy. The door was open, you just had to choose whether to go through or whether to stay behind.

So they had gone to the usual place and gone through the ritual. Pretty soon they were floating high above the world. Somewhere between reality and fantasy he woke from a dream. And then she was on the ledge. He didn’t think she would do it. Really, really didn’t think she’d be able to do it. And then, suddenly out of time, she jumped and was gone. Just like that.

He ran to the ledge screaming and screaming and jumped after her. As the wind pushed his face to terminal velocity he could see the island and Alice’s open ‘chute way below.

He let gravity take control and enjoyed the ride.

 Copyright  Mark Devlin July 1996