The humid air worked its way through my lungs as I pulled myself up higher. The aerial roots of the great banyan tree rose from the earth to a canopy, intertwining and stretching across the edge of that rocky hillside.
My mind a mess with anger, hurt, and pretended indifference, I paid little attention to my body which warned me I was climbing too high and too fast. Surely there was too much air beneath the majestic limbs beneath my bare feet. It was almost as though I knew what would happen when I tried to balance my way up that branch; almost as though I had sent myself there for that specific reason.
And suddenly I slipped. My feet, legs, arms, face, all tingled as my scream split the air and I fell. The rocky slope rushed toward me. Rushing through my mind were thoughtless words I would never get to take back, the boy who would never hear me say “I love you,” the children I would never name, and friends who might cry.
I braced myself and tried to hold on to that pretended indifference.