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Sunday, 13 September 2009 02:00


By  Karina Whalley
My toes curl tighter into the crevice, hoping to wedge my suspended body more securely on the top of that monstrous rock. Slime and shouts from below threaten to push my shaky feet over the edge. Jump... just let go.

A slow stare down and the minute picture of upturned eyeballs in the far-away water hits me. My precarious position slams into my stomach again, in realisation. Don't do it... are you crazy? Stop thinking. What are you doing? What are you waiting for? Jump...

A second glance, down, down, down and my toes curl tighter and my stomach wrenches harder and my thoughts race faster. Pros and cons and angles and strategies: where to jump; how to leap; where to aim; how much air to suck in; where to place my trembling soles and terrified heart?

Reality swirls below waiting for me to face it, waiting to envelop me. Finished with preparation, the theories and human analysis causing my paralysis... university halls that examined my insides without ever readying them for the outsides. Stop thinking.

The truth is that it will never be how you imagined or prepared. The truth is that you don't know what lies ahead. The truth is oblivion, where free will dares not lurk.

I gulp down shame for a few more moments of closed-eyed steadiness amidst the urgent cries of friends already swimming in reality. Don't look down. Look out. Focus on the distant horizon, on its safe, unwavering line and drop.

Head up and breath slow, I peel open two lids, hooking my gaze firmly on that far-off line. My incessant inside-talking is not what will help me release. The hypotheses are a malformed shadow of an unruly nature. I slip off guard. I lose my head and then my feet. I render my soft insides vulnerable in offering to the true controller: Gaia.

One, two, three... drop.

Gaze still hooked on line, I feel my uncurled toes surrounded by air. I feel my floating head eject. I feel my insides disintegrate to become part of the air and part of the jump and part of the rush and pull, the downward suction home. I'm free. I'm out of control. I've escaped the fictive rock of knowledge and morals to join the reality of chaos into which I plunge.

Sweet, cool water shocks my limbs and brain. I drift, randomly, happy, relieved, towards smiling faces. Toes bobbing in the current, I finally know my place: a moving home, a liquid existence, a vessel succumbing to the flow of its ever-watery foundation.
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