“I’m gonna let go, but I don’t know where I’m gonna fall to?” asked the dirty faced little boy who hung limply from a clothesline in the pitch blackness over a deserted alley some four stories high.
“That’s right Michael,” said the other much older boy who hung out the window with one hand in a tight knuckled grip on the window sill and the other on the clothesline from which Michael hung.
“You gotta drop straight down and let us see what you’re made of. We’ve all had to do it, you won’t be the first,” the boy said, in a matter fact tone.
Michael looked up from where he hung at the older boy who had spoken to him, his face and body were hidden in the myriad of shadows the surrounding buildings cast upon him. It seemed to Michael that the shadows spoke to him, the voice didn’t belong to anyone at all just a disembodied entity wanting him to fall to his doom. Michael looked up higher to the stars overhead, his only source of light. He gazed at the nighttime sky, the dancing twinkling night. He had never noticed the stars twinkle as much as he did this night. It made him ponder, it made him think. It made him come to a decision.
He took one last look, time to see what he was made of he thought. He gave the shadowy boy a nod and let go. Just like that.
He fell for an eternity. His long hair was pulled upward as he heard the rush of air flow past his ears. The beat of his heart was the only other intrusion upon his senses as he fell. The stars above were lost in a deep blackness that couldn’t be pierced, like falling down a well at night.
He had landed and he was alive. Somehow he was alive. Michael got up and stood amidst the cheering, hooting and hollering of the other boys that had waited down below. Then he simply turned from them and walked away and never looked back. He did look up though at the twinkling stars.
by Philip Wardlow 2015