Excellent Excuses

October 3, 2019

Image: Flickr | Edmund Garman 


The wind whipped against my face as I stood on the edge of the cliff. My heartbeat increased from inside of my chest, hammering so hard that I was convinced my rib cage would break.

I looked towards Sarah.

"Are you ready?" She asked.

I took a deep breath, attempting to calm my nerves. It failed.

"Yes-s-s." I announced shakily.

She laced her fingers through mine.

"Ok." She replied.

We both looked forward, towards the sun setting deeply in the shadows. I forced my feet to move, my toes just hanging off the edge of the cliff.

You must think I'm mad.

Well maybe I am. No matter how excellent an excuse I may have, nothing justifies what I'm about to do.

I clenched my fist, white marks on my knuckles showing through the flesh. The floor seemed to breathe as I stared down at it, a calming feeling filling my body.

"Three," Sarah began.

"Two," I whispered.

"One!" We chorused.

It took every ounce of strength to make my feet peeled themselves off the floor as my body dropped forwards. Sarah's hand unclipped itself from mine as I flew. 

I was doing it, it was happening.

I was falling.

The sensation of being under water was brilliant. I was a fish, lost beneath the bright coral of the earth. Everything was blurry, the fiery water filling up my lungs, my breathing cut off.


I wanted to stay there forever, escaping the life that I'd ruined. But as my body threatened to bob out of the water, I knew it was over.

Cold, fulfilling oxygen filled my body as I floated to the surface. I coughed, spluttered and choked, my vision slowly coming back to me.

I remembered Sarah. Where was she?

"Sarah!" I croaked, attempting to swim forward.

The current pushed my body backwards, the waves getting more tortuous. As I used every nerve, every feeling in my body to fight the waves, that's when I saw it.

A body, upturned, laying completely still and straight, like a plank of wood. No sign of movement, no sign of life. I swam closer, gasping to get a glimpse of the humans face as the sea turned the corpse onto it's back.


I stroked the red, wet hair from her pale face. Her usual soft pink lips had turned match the harsh, blue tones of the water. 

My eyes filled with tears. 

"No..." I stuttered.

I could hear sounds echoing from all around me, my ears filling with a terrible screech. But only one sound mattered. A sound that had gone.

My best friends’ heartbeat.

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First published in 1965, InQuire is the University of Kent student newspaper.

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