Saturday, January 03, 2004

devil's churn

there i was, late december, my long deceased father's birthday, vacationing, skipping rock to rock, jagged and jutting, spray flying thirty feet in the air from the crevasse. i've always been surefooted, a mountain goat on most surfaces. but i am not atheletic. i am not. i am not. i am not. i considered the step before i took it -- knew it was too far a stretch for me. the pointed lava rock i was to land on was too narrow for my boot, my boot to old to grab like it used to. the sign said don't go past this point, and we had been discussing the old fool at the water's edge, at the devil's edge, at the edge of the churn. an old fisherman, hoping to grasp fried fish from the mouth of hell, standing soundly in place as waves blew through the channel like a whale's blowhole. I peeked bravely over the edge and commented to my beloved how convenient a place this would be in the event i wanted to get rid of somebody. (not someone. i am someone.) and then, walking back up, i jumped to the spiney rock, and just like that my foot went out from under me. initially, i hung onto my coffee cup the way you do at the most inconvenient of times. a two dollar paper cup of cold coffee, clinging to it instead of life itself. willing, in that moment, to trade life for caffiene. and i thought these thoughts: first... this isn't really happening, is it? i won't actually fall, will I? then, nanoseconds later, surely I won't roll over. then, surely, i won't roll over again... and so it went, the thoughts, the life-flashing-before-my-eyes kind of thoughts, until the coffee was a laughable memory, my knees broken and my bare hands clinging to lava flow as to a last breath. I yelled out his name and the life and death of it is all wrapped up in that moment-- that his name may have been the last word i uttered. and that would have been okay with me.

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