I recall talking with a friend of mine
as we stood on a boat inches away from a glacial river
about being afraid of heights.
“You know what I feel when I get too near the edge?”
he asked, leaning out to tighten a nut on the outside
of the cabin, one hand clutching a wrench, the other
gripping the rail. “I feel like I want to jump.”
I considered that idea as I wondered what I would do
if he lost his grip. A life ring and a length of line
hung behind the ladder to the bridge.
“Not me, man,” I shuddered to imagine approaching the rim
of a high cliff, or a building taller than two stories.
“I can barely stand watching someone else up high.”
I thought about how twitchy I get at scenes in movies
when a character is flirting with certain disaster
near a precipice.
My friend finished the tightening,
stood and handed me the wrench. “Never
think twice about it unless I’m there,” he smiled.
That was it. In the blink of an eye I decided
I never wanted to climb mountains
or anything else with him.