”Did you hear everything I just said?” I ask, and she nods.
She has at least stepped away from the ledge, but has found something else to balance on. I try to control my breathing, make it slower, as I observe her putting one step in front of the other on the plank of wood that for some reason has found its way to the roof of the building. Her arms flail a little, and even though a misstep from where she is right now wouldn’t hurt her, I try to address her endeavor as if it would.
“Keep your eyes straight ahead”, I advice her, since she’s looking straight down.
“But then I wouldn’t see where I’m putting my feet”, she objects, moving closer to the middle of the plank. “I’d fall for sure.”
“Alright”, I surrender. “If you’re certain that’s the best way for you to do it, it’s fine. But you mustn’t do it anywhere nearer the edge, can we agree on that?”
She nods again.
“Are you nodding just because you know I want you to?”
She doesn’t reply, but I wait. When she reaches the end of the plank she stops and looks up, stares at the horizon, then replies to me.
“Yes. I think we want different things.”
I want to shout at her, but manage not to. I try to find solace in her honesty.
“How do you mean?”
She does a little jump off the plank, which causes it to clatter and my heart to jump.
“Well”, she ponders, still not looking at me. “Maybe it’s different ways of seeing the things we want. But I do trust you, I trust you want what’s best for me.”
“I do”, I interject, which causes her to face me with a smile, as she continues.
“And I love you for it. It means a lot to me.”
She is still too far away from me for comfort, but the warmth in that smile reaches me full force. As long as we’re talking I can accept the fact that I can’t move closer, relying on my words to be enough to steer her movements.
“It means a lot to me too”, I tell her. “And I don’t think we see things that differently at all.”
“Oh but we do”, she objects, and the certainty with which she says it terrifies me.
Or if it is the glint in her eyes.
“Even if we did”, I try, not wanting to carry on down the path she seems intent on. “I think we should be careful and listen very closely to each other before doing anything rash.”
She pouts her lips, seemingly giving what I’m saying some thought.
“It wouldn’t be rash”, she then informs me. “If you knew what I knew.”
She looks at me with a knowing smile, willing me to question her about it, but something inside is screaming for me not to and I desperately try to find something else to say. Anything that will engage her. But before I get a chance to she tells me anyway.
“That I can fly.”
And she runs straight out into the air.