A new ballad begins as she finally jumps over the edge


Sofia Hargis-Acevedo

I took this on a hike with my friends not long before I turned sixteen; just as I was finally reaching the edge.

Timidly, she walks, creeping closer and closer to the edge.

She slowly puts one foot in front of the other. Her breathing is quick. Her heart is pounding. Her entire body is trembling. All she has to do is jump.

But what happens next? What does she do now? The thought of jumping was, at first, exhilarating, but now she can’t help but shy away. 

Unfortunately, it’s unavoidable. The closer she is to reaching the edge, the sooner the canorous ballad hits its final note. She’s grown familiar with the constant melody through her life; she doesn’t know what tomorrow contains without the sustained beats and notes and walking and waiting. 

She doesn’t enjoy change. She is comfortable with what her life is like right now. She feels safe and warm and happy, genuinely happy. 

But what will change when she jumps? Will everything flip upside down? She doesn’t want to lose the pure joy that she has grasped onto for so long. She’s worked so hard to keep it; she can’t afford for it to slip away. 

But she keeps walking. She wants so badly to turn around, to go back in time, but that is impossible.

When she was younger, she always dreamed about the day that she got to jump over the edge. She was tired of the little freedom that she had at six years old. Her father always told her not to rush it; she needs to slow down now because before she knew it, she would be standing on the edge.

Perhaps the water will be clear once she breaks the surface.

But she didn’t listen.

She rushed through every precious moment. She never slowed down to take her time. She ran to the edge because she was too impatient to wait. She was going too fast to stop and appreciate where she was then. 

As she grew older, she realized the importance of what her father said to her so many times before. But she took too long to understand and missed the moments that truly mattered. 

Her steps continue to slow down until she comes to a stop.

She’s reached the edge.

She peaks her head over the rocky cliff and looks down. Deep blue waves crash against the shore. They roar and scream, impatiently waiting for her to take the leap. The wind howls in her ears, telling her that it is time. They nudge her closer and closer to the edge until her toes are hanging over. 

She continues to wonder; what will happen when she jumps? Will every memory wash away with the tide? Will every playdate, walk to the park, beach trip, and car ride vanish into thin air? She doesn’t know what is waiting for her at the bottom, but, after so many years of waiting for this moment, she doesn’t want to find out.

But time keeps moving. It won’t stop simply because she pleads for it to. She knows deep down that this will be good for her, that she will thrive in the crashing waves.

And who knows, perhaps the water will be clear once she breaks the surface. Perhaps every memory she has made embarking towards this cliff will cushion her fall. Perhaps every puzzle piece will settle into place, and it will be perfect.

So, as the canorous ballad hits its final note,

she jumps

over the edge of sixteen.