The Perfect Fall
by Christopher M Drew
You twist your tiptoes into the textured edge of the board and rock up and down in perfect pace with the lullaby lilt of water far below.
You taste sweat and urine and skin and blood and inhale the sterile chemical remains of a thousand nameless souls that float beneath you like flotsam.
You close your eyes as the massless void inside you dilates like a black hole and collapses, pulling you into its gravity.
You bend your knees and push, and push, and push.
Your arms stretch in an ichthys over your head and curve through the apex of the dive like a breaching dolphin.
This is the moment, in the soft blue silence between the leap and the fall, when the world ceases its incessant spin. When agony and ecstasy fuse into numb oblivion and all you can feel is...
...the rush of hot air over your skin. The fizz of adrenalin through your blood. The shock of your flattened palms, as pitiless and precise as a scalpel, slicing the surface of the water with a rip like torn tissue.
You disappear piece by piece by piece until you are submerged, invisible, spinning through the viscous fluid like the sombre cycle of the seasons.
Light, dark, light, dark.
You link your arms around tucked knees, empty your lungs in silent scream, and ascend inexorably towards the shattered surface.
In. Out. Breathe.
You lie still, weightless, and listen to the muted white noise of splashing, laughter, music, life. Your heartbeat slows, echoing the rhythmic lap of water in your ears.
You cradle your arms and try to remember the weight of him, the tufts of his satin hair, his skin like folded silk, his infinite smile.
But all you can feel is the fall.