Three or four seconds of flight. Or a laundry-bag dead drop, my arms and legs unable to flap. If only I could take the damn chair, my very own barrel and cement to send me to the bottom of the bay. This jump will be a sure thing, even more certain than another day losing a finger’s wiggle or foot’s tap. No, even if I survive the splat and am tempted to use my flippers and vestigial fins I’ll be done for in the water. Michael says we are all athletes, but this one is taking a dive, giving up the fight, going down and down and down for the count of three or four and no more, no more.

What will Michael do with that damn chair?

I should have left my note, scrawled months ago when I could still write, in my bag instead of at the hotel. I can scream on the way down, “Throw it in, throw it in,” just as I’m throwing in the towel, but he’ll never hear, not up there with all the traffic going by and his “No, no” traveling from his mouth to his ears.

Next time: remember stones.

I’m ready to ease my bag out onto the walkway. Like a maiden who drops a handkerchief to attract a man’s attention. That’s when cheerful, bluff, blue-eyed Michael Keever points out to the west where the blue sea and the blue sky become indistinguishable.

“Look, Lucille,” he says, “there’s no end. It’s all one.”

I don’t give Michael credit for perceptiveness or profundity or even concern, for he had his money in his pocket. No, Michael didn’t save my life with this remark, but he did, for whatever reason, begin Terminal Tours, and he did bring me to San Francisco, and he did treat me like a person instead of a clothes hanger. So when he said this simple thing and I turned my eyes to the west, something moved inside me, almost as indistinguishable as the meeting point of sea and sky but still a motion, as if the ability to move had migrated from my limbs inside. And so I didn’t move my hand to drop my bag, and I didn’t clamber like a two-year old over the railing, and I did return to my hotel. And I went back to Atlanta, and I had my faithless husband sit me down in front of the keyboard, and I moved my fingers. Maybe he will never read this, but others will.

Of course there’s an end, a terminal. But that day on the bridge, that second in this still damned chair, I felt and moved otherwise.

Without ever knowing it, Michael gave me the gift of going on. When I decide not to continue, I hope he’ll still be available for a trip to the Grand Canyon.

 

Lucille has posted another story. Click here to read more.