• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 03
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Take Off

The sun was setting, hanging on by a thread in the orange and purple sky. He stood at the edge of the dock all day watching the others. His reflection in the water was mocking him, too. His silhouette danced between the tiny waves blowing in the breeze. The more he waited, the more he psyched himself out, found reasons not to jump, why it was stupid to jump. It would be the end of the world if he jumped. He needs to learn to let the past go.

But what was beneath the surface? Would he see schools of colorful fish darting between the coral? No, because it's late. All the other children have gone home. All the fish are hunkered down in their rocky homes, waiting for the sun to rise again, hoping he won't jump, taking bets. He thinks about the lack of sun. How would he get back to the surface? He never could float.

I silently watched him from behind. I was there before. "Shit or get off the pot," my father would tell me. And I'd cave. Every time. I sat silently, camera in hand, the battery going down with the sun. I wanted him to jump. I thought he would. He was not the type to let things go unfinished. Just wait him out. Don't look. Give him a chance.

He bent down and raised his arms up like the seagulls still scavenging the dock for leftover sandwiches left behind by screaming children and sleepy parents. It looked like this would be it. If he didn't do it now, he never would.

As a parent, you want to go up to him and explain how this would be the moment that defines who he is as a person, and give him a little push, words of encouragement, you want to let him know the battery is about to die on the camera, and that traffic will be the worst. But that familiar look of determination was in his eyes, he bent down as if he was going to jump to the moon. A smile grew on his face, his tongue sticking out. He refused to hit his head again.