One Step

Two Women by Egon Schiele The author died in 1918, so this work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 90 years or less.
Two Women by Egon Schiele
The author died in 1918, so this work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 90 years or less.

Tipsy Lit: Prompted: Risky Business   ·

For this week’s prompt, the theme is taking a big risk….

Adrenaline tickling my body, I crossed from one landing to the other. My ecstatic screams subsided only when I reached the other side.

It was Jeima’s turn. Others were teasing her. She had let her turn pass a few times, and watched many of us walk on the thin rail to the other roof, probably telling herself it was not a big deal, that it was one straight step she had to take after another. Had she not, so many times before, practised walking on a straight line on the pavement, pretending to be walking up in the air, with everyone watching and marveling at her courage from below, their eyes reduced to thin lines with the sun shining just above her?

Sometimes we played the acrobat game together, imagining we were world famous artists, walking on ropes above all city chaos, defying gravity, smiling and shining with the confidence we gathered from the inaudible applause below our feet shaking buildings with its intensity. Brunette Rebellion, the name we had chosen for ourselves, rebelled against gravity and fear!

I saw her, with her arms already lifted, balancing her weight, although she had not yet taken a step towards the edge of the roof. She seemed tense, much more different from her jolly, mocking self in our games.

I looked all the way down, focusing on the half of my foot resting emptily on the nothingness between the roof top and the grey pavement 7 floors below.

I imagined the one slight moment when I would push my foot forward and place it on the emptiness. It was as if I could keep walking to the other side where Jeima was still waltzing one foot forward one foot backward, trying to find the courage for the big adventure. It was as if all would unravel like in cartoons, where the character does not fall until it notices it has exhausted the cliff and is standing over a huge gap.

I wondered what difference it would make, my landing on the pavement and never getting up. I wondered what would change for the tiny people rushing in between tall chaotic buildings…

I wondered how my parents would feel and what would change for my friends, whether they would ever come back to this rooftop and carry on with their daring games.

A dress with dark hair rustling and dancing against gravity passed through the corner of my eye, followed by a thump.

And I received the answers to my questions.

People on the streets without a second to waste would quickly gather and stand still around my body. My parents would lose all motion in their body, maybe to go back to a time when they could hold me from climbing up to the roof top.

My friends would never visit the rooftop again, and the fun teasing would be diminished to an unbreakable silence.

I know all this, because it all happened when Jeima stepped quietly away from the cliff.

Word Count: 502

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