We’ve summitted Everest. Now we’re tightrope walking along the ridge, risking our very lives, just for the thrill of being on the edge of the world. You waver and reach instinctively for me. I hold on tight, but can’t keep my balance and we both tumble off the edge, collapsing in giggles onto the cushions of our brand new couch.
Breathlessly, we climb back up again, toes curling around the back of the couch, tiny fingertips reaching toward the ceiling.
The last time you fall, you land on the arm with a crack. My heart freezes, afraid that sound was you breaking. You jump up, elastic and bouncy and invincible in that little-kid way. But… almost as terrible as you being broken: the new couch is broken.
Your horrified eyes meet mine, your mouth moves soundlessly for a moment before you whisper, “Please, please, Rachel, don’t tell Mom…”
I’m not offended you think I would tell. I always tell. I never lie to Mom. I always tell the truth. But I agree immediately, without thinking. Something about the fear in your eyes, or the adventure we shared, shifts something inside of me. We’re partners now. I’ll never give you up.
My mom was very, very angry, but believed me when I said we didn’t know what happened. After all, I’d never lied to her before. We did eventually tell her the truth… twenty years later. 🙂