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He found her sitting close to the edge as the sun began to set. She had been there for hours, a neighbour told him. Sometimes pacing up and down, sometimes just sitting there. Several times she had approached the edge as if ready to jump, but she had always pulled back.

He touched her softly on the shoulder, and asked her to come down with him. Reluctantly, with a last longing look at the precipice, she had.

“I couldn’t do it,” she said, as they lay together. “I was just too afraid.”

He hugged her gently. “Afraid of the fall?”

She almost nodded, then frowned and shook her head instead.

“Not exactly,” she said. “I was more afraid that people were watching me. That I might make a fool of myself.”

She wriggled in to nestle as close to his body as possible.

“I just thought,” she said slowly, “There are seven year olds doing acrobatics above me, and I’m twenty four and I’ve never-”

He put a finger to her lips and kissed her gently on the forehead.

“If anyone laughs at you,” he said, “I’ll… I’ll poop on their heads!”

She had to laugh at that. “Really? Are you one of those seven year olds?”

He grinned. “Look. I know somewhere really quiet, where nobody will be watching. I’ll take the day off work, and we’ll go there tomorrow.”

“Really?”

He wrapped his wings around her. “Really. And you’ll be flying with the rest of us in no time.”

He said it with such absolute confidence that she had to believe him. She stretched her own, untested wings around him, and they fell asleep together.

© Kari Fay

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