The Fallen Stone

Stephanie - San Antonio, Texas
Entered on October 21, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

The earth beneath my feet changes to mud as I stand above the river contemplating my next move. As the minutes pass by, water pools around my feet helping to revive withered flowers and grass, and still my mind vacillates. I tread nimbly to the cliffs edge, stopping shy of the rocky overhang. My eyes strain to see the water below but I refuse to open them for then I will be filled with trepidation. I open the blue irises just long enough to align my toes with the fringe of the cliff, and then force them to see only my toes. They’re dirty now, dust has gathered underneath the ruby red polish I painted this morning. They’re big too, size ten at best and eleven at worst. The breeze picks up and my torso sways with the playful Aeolus, swinging daringly over the rim and quickly back to center. And then I jump. My mind scrambles and screams as I plummet through the air. My legs begin to search for familiar ground only to be disappointed when they touch nothing. For a while it seems I will hit the blue depths below flat chested in my usual “belly flop” pose. From this height, my stomach will sting for days and the air will be punched out of me by seemingly harmless water. Memories fly through my head, stopping at the video of me at my first summer league swim meet. Invisible hands seem to move me as my muscles take the form my coach had us perfect. My arms and hands create a point above my head, my feet gluing together like a spear. I fall, fast, and believe that the water will catch my figure with the kindness of a father’s hand.

As I plunge into the crystalline water, my eye catches on the gleaming stones laid at the bottom of the river. I propel myself downwards to get a better look at the shimmering rocks poking through the sand. I glide my fingers across the bottom letting them feel the difference between the grainy sediment and polished pebbles. As I move through the water I notice how fast my heart is beating. With every pulse a small boost of adrenaline courses through me feeding my strength and helping my breathing to endure. I’m astounded by the rush the jump has given me, how invigorated I feel after free-falling. I feel free and optimistic about what I can do in life! I can’t believe I was even scared in the first place of something as simple as taking a “leap of faith”. My lungs begin to scream for air as I float towards the surface. I roll over to so that I’m floating on my back and continue to ponder the miracle that has just happened. I realize that letting go of my fears and taking a leap of faith, has fantastic results. I think back to my childhood, all the times I was too afraid, too worried, or too skeptical; and I realize all the amazing opportunities I had missed. If only I had believed in taking chances, who knows what fanciful memories I could have now.

As my train of thought drifts off to simpler things such as the color of a dragonfly, I pull myself to the edge of the ridge once again. I raise my waterlogged body out of the river, and begin the trek up the ridge to the cliff face again. I follow the well worn path to my previous starting position, frolicking up to the ridge. Without hesitation I stride to the overhang and prepare myself for another “leap of faith”. As I crunch my toes against the crumbling edge, I prepare myself to jump, not fall, and let the hands of fate guide me.