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I was watching a daredevil bird wheel out over the abyss. He floated for a moment and then flapped with cod fury back across the precipice, screeching in delight. I must have been smiling at this as I turned to go. You walked right up to me and asked if I would take a picture of you and your sister.

"Bien sur," I said.

I took one of you both and then I snuck in another just of you. I have it in my pocket right now. When you sent it to me, I was surprised. I don't think I even looked in the viewfinder.

"Where are you from?" I asked.

"Toulouse," you said.

The three of us began to walk away from the falls, you and I chatting. I caught your sister nodding to herself. She knew before we did. She knew the three of us would go out for dinner and she would graciously slip out of the conversation. She knew you would not come back to hotel with her. She knew I would wake up with you in my arms and it would be the only time I would.

I came back to the falls today. I can't really say why. The closer I came to the turnoff, the more inevitable it seemed. Walking towards the overlook I marveled at the people on the path, pilgrims blissfully oblivious to the irony of a natural wonder that mocks us as it enchants.

I stared at the water slipping over the edge. The hypnosis comes quickly if you're ready. I vaulted the rail and leaped into the deluge. I disappeared. The embrace of oblivion is what I craved. Just as I once craved you. All it took was courage.

Story by:

Stirling Noh

17 July 2014