Rise and Descent


Fifteen stories above the street, here I am.

One story for each year it’s been since the accident.

I stand near the edge, looking down, thinking of the experiences that led me to this place. A year ago, I decided to be bold. But it’s not that experience that led me here. No, this goes back fifteen years. To the cold steel on steel that battered my body and crushed my soul. It left me unable to take risks, paralyzed with fear.


There is a great deal of safety in this bold risk. They strap me into a harness, a complicated dance of straps and buckles, ropes and pulleys. Memories come rushing back of a hard plastic back brace, my body’s former prison. You are in control, they say, it’s not too late to turn back. Don’t tell me that. My body has betrayed me before; it may do it again. My mind is set on rappelling, my body running down the stairs.

Helmet: check. Gloves: check. Now just lean backwards into the air. My once-broken body rebels – are you kidding me with this? But my mind is set like flint.

Nothing but future ahead of me, I begin my descent.

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