I stood there, against the cliff face, holding on to dear life and limb. She was underneath me, somewhere out of sight, the rope that held us both alive, was breaking one strand at a time.
“Cut the rope!”, she yelled to me.
“Don’t think about me!”
How could I not think about her? Such a dilemma. Sink or swim, and without knowing how to do the latter. “She loves me, she loves me not”. That other woman didn’t mean anything to me….
Why would those thoughts go through my head right now? Why not think of the good times, the loving times, our future together?
Why not that?
“You can’t keep holding on. Cut the rope, and save yourself!”
Save myself? Why would I want to do that? Why would I want to continue living, without her?
The sky had darkened, as the wind whipped around my hands, chafing them more than the sharp edges of the rope that bound us together. If only….Perhaps if I yelled for help….?
Who would help us now? It was just us two in a sea of humanity, with them not knowing of us or our problems. “Would you accept help, if it were offered to you?” She used to ask me, when times seemed tough, with there being no way out, not that we could see, anyway. “Do you think there is a chance, for us?” No counselor could save us from ourselves. No rope was strong enough to hold the both of us, “I pull, but you push…Why can’t we pull in the same direction?”
Why couldn’t we do that?
I adjusted my position leaning a bit more against the rock face, making sure not to let any more slack out, lest the rope decided at that moment to snap completely. “What are you waiting for?” She yelled once again. “Why would you hesitate?”
My hands seemed to be frozen around the rope, my white knuckles matching the thin woven strands that joined my life to hers.
Life in a single, fragile strand…
I bit my lower lip in order to know if I were still alive, or if my mind was hanging on to a distant memory, while I fell over the edge to the depths below. Did I see her? When the rope finally broke, tumbling me over the precipice. Was that her, I saw as the end came closer? Was it her worried face, or satisfied grin that occupied the last nanoseconds of my fading existence?
I don’t believe, she ever wanted things to come this far. A part of me wanted to remember how we were in the beginning, before the kids came, and the house payments, unending. She and I used to talk about our lives together, our starting-out lives, when things seemed much simpler and uncomplicated.
I had another girlfriend, when I was just starting out in life. She told me that if, during childbirth, the question came to saving her, or the baby, I would have to choose the life of the child over her. What a choice to make.
“My hands have gone numb” She called out from below. “I can’t feel anything, anymore”.
That was it, wasn’t it? Not being able to feel anything, anymore. I hated to think that things had come so far that we only had one choice before us, the literal rock and a hard place. This was, though, different. Way different. Now it was the rocks which were keeping her alive, for a few minutes more. Alive to continue with the way that she smiled, and laughed. I loved the way she giggled over the silliest of things. Trivialities and less than that.
Another strand started to unravel. I couldn’t stem the tide, nor stop the icy winds from blowing. All of my entwined hopes, were unraveling before my eyes, no time to waste, no time at all.
Suddenly the rope slackened, as if her weight had disappeared from its grasp.
“I’ve found a new foothold” she cried up to me. “I think, I can hold on this time!”
I dared not release my grasp. What if it were a ruse? A way to make me give in and up? What if she had unfastened herself from her tethers, expecting me to do the same, finishing the job once and for all….
“Can you see me now?” She called out from below. I tried to fasten the rope on an outcrop of rock, allowing me to peer over the edge, where our destiny lay.
“Yes!” I cried out. “Yes, I can see you now” said while lying flat on the ground, reaching out my hand towards hers. The numbness disappearing along with the thoughts of us meeting our fates, our lost hopes.
A chance became us, and encompassed us. Casting away all doubt with its questionable strengths and weaknesses.
“You didn’t let go” She sobbed, while we held each other at last. “You believed in us, didn’t you?”
Yes. I believed in us. Despite the doubts and other thousand thoughts that rolled through me head in those few moments that we were apart, I still believed in us.
-Stronger than any rope