The Cliff: Jump Far and High!
Greg. Age 13. PA

Forever. Forever the memory of the cliff will be seared into my mind. Once on top, the only way down is to jump—far and high. The thick wet air chokes me as we arrive upon the monstrous cliff. Perspiration drips off me like a sink letting out water. The water is clear blue and filled with aquatic fish and slimy and grimy seaweed. I hear the noise of the thunderous splashes that are about to come. Images play through my mind of all the good and terrible things that could happen. Why am I doing this? What’s going to happen? Will I jump far and high? All these are unanswerable until I jump. My brothers and my one cousin—Geoff, Chris, and Matt—also came to jump. All have soared of the cliff, but not me. They made it look as easy look as walking. For me, it’s like learning to walk.

* * * * *

I rip my shirt off as I plunge into the icy but mildly refreshing water. A thick haze is hovering over the water. It is so thick that it feels like we are swimming in it. White as rice. We swim to the corner of the rocks where we must climb like a rock climber getting to the peak of a mountain. The cliff, looking like Mount Everest, is notorious for striking fear in the hearts of people. Climbing. Blistering our hands, the pain is overwhelmed by the fear of the cliff. The climb. Almost more treacherous than the jump itself. My mind twists in a knot wondering why I’m doing this. Fear is all that I feel once I am at the top with the rest of the people jumping.

I attach my Go-Pro, a camera that takes video, to my head. With my heart almost popping out of my chest, Matt jumps. Splash. Only two to go. He does it without hesitating. Then Geoff. Sprinting hastily. Then jumping. Splash. Geoff—the jokester, always having to be cool— instead of jumping just drops. How he was not scared? Splash. One more until me. My muscles tense up and my mind freezes. I witness newfound feelings like despondency and exhilaration and a cache of others. Chris is the final one. Jumping like he’s in an Olympic hurdling competition. Booming, the splash’s concussion almost makes me fall as all my coordination has vanished due to the fear and adrenaline of the drop, looking like the Grand Canyon.

Taking steps back, breath barely squeaking through my nose, I sprint. My mouth cringing, muscles aching, mind nervous, I drop like I am skydiving. This is all on video. My reaction, my fear, my thrill all combined. Unable to speak on the way down. Kerplunk. My splash is like a water droplet compared to the splashes of my brothers. Sprouting through the water, like a new tree growing through the ground, I appear intact. “Yeeesssss,” I scream. “I made it! I’m actually alive!” Everyone chuckling at my astonishment. Memories of my childhood flash through my mind at the speed of light. Reaching through the water to propel myself towards the boat. I hoist myself in. Buzzing home in the boat, I gawk upon the zenith of the mountain, cognizant that this will be the apex of my summer. All of the emotions felt, all the emotions I lived in this instant, were part of a once in a lifetime experience. The thrill from adventure is worth far more than the fear.

The adrenaline, the thrill. I made it.

* * * * *

Forever. Forever the memory of the cliff will be seared into my mind. I made it.

Now I surreptitiously wander to sleep in my bed awaiting the next cliff I will vanquish. The dream of me jumping plays in my mind.

My brother bellows, “Wake up, Greg. It’s time for another!”

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