All that you have is your soul (Tracy Chapman).

Sunday, 26 October 2008

A Short Story


I don't know what made Jeff different from all of the other guys. I mean, he was ordinary looking wasn't he?

Blue eyes, angular chin, slicked back black hair and about 5'7 tall. He could have been anybody.
But he wasn't.

He was Jeff. The very same Jeff who saved my life.
The very same Jeff.

That was by and by and the night of the accident seemed like an ongoing echo that makes it way around the canyon. Never ceasing to leave a little imprint of itself in every crag. Jeff.

I suppose I should have known that Jeff would be the one who'd be there when I needed help. The others seemed friendly enough but not the kind of companionship that you know will hang on to you when the ropey sinews of life are fraying at the edges.

It was an accident that could so easily happen and consequently did. Jeff was there though. He gripped my arm as I hung hypnotised by fear over the edge of the cliff. Not looking up or down, just hoping that someone would be there to allow me the luxury of being still alive at 10.43, a mere six minutes away.

Of course Pete did the usual thing and stood there. Frozen. Blocked.
Jack tried to coax me out of my stance but managed very little, his thin voice overwhelmed by the terror of the moment. Susan looked at me with that kind of glare you never want to see again. The type that tells you everything you've ever done has come to naught.

The blue sky melded into the silhouette of the Parker that floated tantalisingly near to the rock. If only I could just reach out and grab the Winter 2003 model, I'd be safe.

The blue sky.

Where did he learn to balance his weight like that? I know that I'd never taught him that trick. I thought he'd learned everything from me, certainly through the idolising look he used to give me when we were walking through the glen. It wasn't in any way sexual. Well, I don't think it was. It was the younger man trying to glean what he could from the old codger that always led the way, irrespective of how useful he was in so doing.

I remember floating - yes, it must have been that sort of motion - because the next thing I knew was resting my back against the rock. Next to the sapling. A new sprout perched so precariously close to the edge. Yet unafraid. Unafraid.

And then Jeff signalled the way and we followed, because I'd finally learned that to lead properly, you have to follow, irrespective of how difficult that challenge may be.

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