Harry must go on with his life after a personal tragedy
The rusted blue pickup truck drove into the crowded parking lot overlooking the
Cumberland River. Harry sat in the front seat, with a downcast expression.
"I don't want to do this," he muttered
"C'mon man. You promised," George replied from the driver's seat.
"I know," Harry said, frustrated. It's just
“You are still thinking of her,” George remarked.
“Of course I am,” Harry replied bitterly. “She is all I think about.”
“I keep telling you,” George said opening the door, “you need to go out and do something. “
“So, how is jumping off a 30’ foot cliff going to help?” Harry glared at his friend.
“It will be fun!” George exclaimed making his way around the truck. He opened the door waiting.
Harry sat there watching the people, without seeing any of them. He saw Lisa’s features, instead, swimming in his mind, her sweet, precious face, beautiful blue eyes, and dark brown hair…
“Snap out of it!” George said, grabbing him roughly. “You have to stop this! She dumped you, man! Do you think she cares that you are sitting here moping? “
Harry sighed again and got out to join George on the rock-hewn path leading to the cliffs.
“I’ll race you!” George shouted, starting down the trail and weeding his way through the throngs of people.
Harry smiled at his friend’s enthusiasm. Maybe a little romp was what he needed.
He just wished George hadn’t gotten such a head start.
The two ran down the trail, dodging people left and right, laughing heartily. A family making their way down the trail blocked George. By the time he was able to work his way past them, Harry was at his heels.
“You aren’t going to catch me,” George shouted running faster, Harry close behind.
People turned their heads smiling as the two rushed up the trail. They passed a beautiful girl holding hands with her boyfriend. Upon seeing her, Harry stumbled to the ground, that image bringing back his ex-girlfriend’s face once again.
“Lisa” he moaned. The image of their last conversation rose up, unwelcome, from the depths of his mind.
They were sitting in his car in her parents’ driveway. He had brought her home after dinner that evening. Normally, they would kiss goodnight and make plans for future dates. This time Lisa wouldn’t look at him. Instead she stared at her parent’s house, at the nearby houses, at the dashboard, anywhere other than him.
“Harry,” she began slowly, “we have to talk.”
Harry turned to her, not liking how this was beginning.
She had fiddled with her hands. “I used to like you…”
Harry sat, not breathing. A chill crept into his heart.
Lisa finally looked at him. “You know I had a crush on the captain of the football team. I thought I never had a chance with him. But,” Her eyes glowed with excitement, “he asked me out earlier this week. I can’t believe it, but John actually asked me out!”
Harry stared at her not believing what he heard.
“You went out with him,” he said, not bothering to hide the accusation in his tone.
“Yes I did. We had such a good time!” Lisa said excitingly and then she sobered as she realized who she was talking to. “I am sorry Harry, but I am going with John now.”
The conversation ended that way; there was nothing more to say.
In the present, Harry sank to his knees, on the rocky trail, fighting the urge to vomit out all his pain and frustration. He felt hands on his shoulders gently shaking him. Opening his red-rimmed eyes, he saw people staring at him. George stood beside him, concern vying with impatience in his eyes.
“Man, you have got to snap out of this!” He spoke harshly.
“I know” Harry sighed getting to his feet.
They continued up the trail, more somberly than minutes before. Hordes of people milled on the cliff overlooked the jump point. They got in line, shaking of the coming leap, George with excitement, Harry with fear. The shouts, sounds and splashes told Harry that the leap was perfectly safe; however his fear and grief were beyond reason.
Lisa still swam in his brain when they got to the ledge. George glanced at him once.
“Are you going to jump?” he asked impatiently.
Harry stood, trembling, for a few minutes unable to move. Behind them, voices began to rumble impatiently.
“C’mon let’s go,” a man, shouted.
Harry looked at his friend, panic etched on his face “George, you go first.”
George shook his head “Uh-uh. Not till you go”
The yells behind them grew more strident.
George looked straight into Harry’s eyes, compassion and urgency in his gaze. “Jump.”
Harry stepped right to the edge of the cliff, his stomach churning at the drop below. Wide-eyed, he stared at the drop, and turned and looked at his friend begging him to reconsider.
George shook his head sternly. “Trust me,” he said
Harry turned once again to the drop. Shutting his eyes, gritting his teeth and clenching his fists, he took a deep breath and jumped off. Time froze as he fell through the air. His stomach dropped to his toes. He was in the air for what seemed an eternity before he hit the water. The impact drove him down into the icy, dark depths. Struggling for air he thrashed to the surface, finally breaking his head out of the water.
It was incredible! All his pain and anger were washed away by that one splash. He was reborn.
“Whoopee!” he shouted splashing with sheer exhilaration.
“Get out of the way!” George laughed 50 feet above him.
Ignoring the cheers and drunken jeers of the people of the cliff all peering down at him, Harry swam frantically away just before George hit the water with a resounding splash.
His friend surfaced sputtering and swam towards Harry with an ‘I-told you so’ expression in his sly eyes. Harry playfully shoved him laughing “Yes, you did. For once in your life, you’re right.”
George muttered something and leaped on his friend dragging him underwater. The two frolicked for several minutes ignoring the shouts above to get out of the way.
Finally, they headed for the shore. Harry smiled as they swam. George had been right after all. Everything felt better.
The two spent the rest of the day climbing up the cliff, walking up the trail and jumping off. Lisa didn't intrude for the rest of the day.