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Over The Edge. (Short Story)
The man approached the ledge.
He dared not stare down, for he knew he would be greeted with an unpleasant sight.
Perhaps he would see majestic waves, ferociously crashing against the pillars, relentlessly exhausting all of their timeless rage on an object built to stand the wildest storms.
Perhaps he would be greeted with cold, unforgiving concrete, punishing and heartless, immovable and inanimate.
Or perhaps he would be deceived by a field. A rolling pasture of seemingly soft earth that would flatten him if he flew from such a distance.
But it wasn’t the perhaps, or the what that frightened the man. It was the what if.
For what if there was no down, perhaps here, at the end of the world, past the wall as high as the tallest mountain, and just short of the sky, he would face the nothing.
A cold empty abyss.
The man had traveled a great distance to reach the end, finishing many beginnings and abandoning many adventures.
For a moment, he closed his eyes and reflected.
He had lived a great life.
Faces and memories flashed before his eyes.
A weekend spent on a beach, a month spent on a mountain, a year spent in a desert.
His travels had taken him far from home, and beyond the wild worlds of his dreams.
He had made many friends, and many enemies.
He took a deep breath and extended his right foot over the infinity void, the cold nothing that could be anything. As he leaned into his rapid descent, his heart began to race.
And then he remembered.
He remembered the girl.
He remembered the way her skin reflected the sunlight like the fullest moon, how her laugh would shatter the deepest silences, and how her smile could chase the darkest shadows away.
He remembered summer days on the beach and winter nights by the fire.
He remembered dinners by candlelight and scary movies on windy nights.
Then he remembered Goodbye.
The world around him grew darker. He retracted his foot and opened his eyes.
He remembered holding her hand, watching his words hammer away at the pieces of her heart, smashing her love into pixy dust, settling at the bottom of her stomach.
He had been so young and so foolish, frustrated with reality and seduced by adventure.
How foolish had he been?
Standing here now, inches from greatness, inches from his hopes and dreams.
And he realized.
That as he stood on the brink of being fulfilled, he had never felt so incomplete.
How rash, how foolish had he been to chase what he didn’t need, while pushing away all that he had ever wanted.
Staring down, he saw the emptiest, coldest thing he had ever encountered.
Looking down, the man saw his own reflection, and knew that he had chosen wrong.