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defying gravity

Brad runs ahead, careless and sure, while we carefully make our way up the concrete arch, bent low, hands out for support. From the ground it looks simple, just like walking up a hill, but the angle is way worse than you think, and I can't help but find myself hunching forward, lowering my center of gravity. Angie follows close behind me, one hand wrapped around my belt, linking us together, our shared fates. She looks beautiful like always, skin shining in the sun, and when she smiles at me I feel warm and safe and alive.

As soon as Brad reaches the top of the arch, he leaps out into space, and seems to hang there for a moment, perfectly suspended, defying gravity like he defies everything else, before finally dropping down, into the deep. He holds his body straight and true, but still it's too high, there's too much speed, and when he hits the water there is an explosion of force, and I stop where I am, count the seconds he is out of sight. The seconds he is without breath.

Angie kisses me and breaks my count, in the cool shade cast by the bridge above, and her tongue is hot inside my mouth. I squeeze her body against me and slide my hand down into her pants, into her underwear, cupping her there. She closes her eyes and rubs herself down against me, and I feel her wetness come. The river surrounds us.

Brad jumps again, and then again, and finally I can put it off no longer. I give Angie a smile to show her this is no big deal, I'm not scared, and then I rise to my feet. Really I'm terrified. I walk to the edge and look over. And down. Way down.

From here the river is the world, just one sheet of blackness, and then us, perched on the concrete archway, hidden beneath the highway. Cars screech by overhead. It's a really strange feeling, hanging in that middle ground, nature raging below you, man raging above. It's death either way, and I can't do this, no way, not me. This is insane, I think, I'm not doing it, and then I realize I've stepped too far, it's too late, I'm already out in the air, falling, falling.

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