By Cath Barton
It was a long way down. I didn’t dare go to the edge of the cliff like my friend.
“Come on, Sally,” Maggie shouted back to me, her words half-carried away by the wind. “It’s amazing. There must be fifty of them down there.”
A group of walkers coming the other way had told us about the seals down on the beach. There was no way that anyone could get down to that beach from the cliff path, and the seals evidently felt entirely safe. Unlike me. I was terrified. I’d never liked heights, and just the sight of someone else near the cliff edge gave me the jitters.
“There’s nothing to be afraid of.” As Maggie’s words reached me, she disappeared, over the edge. My heart juddered and my head spun.
I sank to the ground, shaking. I lay down and, fingertip by fingertip, dragged myself on my belly towards the point where the world disappeared. It was painful, slow. My body didn’t want to obey the instructions from my brain. I inched toward the edge, my eyes shut.
I have no idea how long it was before I opened my eyes. My blood thudded in my ears, a cold sweat lay on my brow. All the fears of all the worlds were in me.
Something shifted. The shift took the terror with it and I knew that there truly was nothing to be afraid of. The earth, the cliff, the sea and even the sheer drop below me were my friends. I started laughing in relief. Then I rolled, over the edge.
Nothing hurt, and I knew it hadn’t hurt Maggie either.
Copyright ©2011 Cath Barton. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form, including electronic, without the author’s express permission.
Cath Barton is a singer, writer and photographer who lives in South Wales. Her work is published here and there, notably in Fractured West, the Leaf Books Anthology Pod and 100 Stories for Queensland. You can see her exhibition of photographs of Wales at www.camelsaloonwales.blogspot.com.