When I was in the Navy, I lived, for a time, in a vacation apartment on the coast of Sicily. I also dating this guy. Now, I don’t remember much about that guy. I don’t remember his name, or what he looked like. The clearest memory was of him being scared to wash the glasses because he was afraid the glass would break. Even after my explanation of physics and what he could do to ensure the glass wouldn’t break, he refused to get over it. In reality he didn’t like anything and complained a lot.
So yeah, I don’t remember much about him.
But I do remember his best friend, Brett.
Brett was just a happy, positive guy. He liked everything I cooked for him. He never complained. And he was a bit of a madman. When he was finished with his junker of a car, he took it to a dry aqueduct and played bumper cars with it, crashing into the sides of the aqueduct. He was pretty crazy.
I know, I know, I was dating the wrong guy. But I was 21 and Brett was 18, and when you’re at that age, three years is a long time!
One day, we met up with a group of people at the top of this big cliff that was about 50 feet high. We got there a bit late, but we hung with them for a while and heard all their stories about jumping off the cliff. It was pretty clear that they hadn’t jumped off the cliff. No way…
Then they left and me, Brett, and what’s his face, were left behind.
Brett looked over the side of the cliff.
Then he climbed down and swam around in the water below, diving to check out the depth. He looked at the rocks on the side of the cliff.
Brett was crazy, but he wasn’t insane.
Then he climbed back up. He backed up, took a running start, and then ran, throwing himself off the cliff.
It was amazing.
I decided that I wanted to jump off the cliff.
It took over an hour for Brett to get me off that cliff. False starts. Fear. Looking over the edge. And making Brett do it again a half dozen more times. What’s his face had partially climbed down the side of the cliff and kept yelling, “You’re not going to jump! Let’s just go!”
The moment came. I flew through the air!
Of course, I jumped a bit too soon and just barely missed some of the rocks. And I landed in a seated position, the water slamming against my hoo haa ensuring that sitting and going to the bathroom would be torture for a couple of days.
But I jumped! I’m in the water, jubilant. I hear a voice come from above me.
See, what’s his face could never let me jump off that cliff without him jumping off the cliff as well.
It took another half hour for Brett to get him off the cliff.
I don’t know that there is a moral or resolution to this story. Maybe it has several parts.
- Yes, take the chance
- But also, be prepared
I’m aware that I could have easily hit those rocks. I jumped too soon. I saw that reality as I fell. But still, I jumped off that cliff.
And of course, no one ever believed it…