Never had the thought even crossed his mind before. Not even one good time, in all his years, had such a harebrained scheme seemed…logical. He blew out a breath and felt the anxiety tingle all the way to his numbing lips in a wash of nerves.

“Are you sure about this, Randal?”  Trent, only eleven, placed a hand on his brother’s arm, the pressure just firm enough to keep him from moving.

“No.” Randal answered, his voice croaking like it had the day he started to change from boy to man. It was so long ago. He was 15 now, and yet the reminder of his childhood, now lost in the rear view mirror of his teenage life was reminding him that it was not so far gone.

Trent applied a little more pressure, this time his fingers squeezing into Randal’s flesh. “Then don’t be stupid!” He hissed. “This ain’t gone prove nothing!”

“Yes it will,” Randal found himself nodding, trying to convince himself of his own words.  He slid the toe of his scuffed converse to the ledge and watched tiny pebble’s fall to the ground and out of sight.  His fingertips went ice cold and the way his stomach clenched and forced itself deeper into his spine let him know he was going to need a little more convincing. Was this a good idea? The way Trent was cursing him under his breath gave him the answer to that, but they way those sweet brown eyes below looked up at him, waiting with anticipation and just a hint of what Randal hoped was worry drug him closer to the roof’s edge like a magnet.

Her name was River. Her parents were some kind of tree-hugging-save-the-planet-heroes that drove his and Trent’s parent’s, their mother especially, bananas. Randal didn’t care. All he cared about was River and her brown eyes, her honey colored hair, and the way she bit deep into the round lip as she looked up at him. She was the only woman he loved right in that moment and he would do anything to get that love in return.

It was settled! He was going to jump. The din of the crowd raised to a clanging roar, his toes now peaking off the roof’s edge. “Let go of me, Trent! I’m doing it!” He was only about a story and a half off the ground. That pile of old mattresses and gathered leaves would cushion his fall if he didn’t manage to land on his feet. It was only one somersault. He tried to press down the fear. Dang it! He still wasn’t sure.

“Your gonna break your stupid neck, Randal!” Trent hollered, red creeping into his cheeks.

Randal braced himself and made ready to take his leap offering up a quick prayer when he heard his mother holler from the kitchen window.

“What in the hell are you doing on my roof, Randal?! And why are all this heathens in my yard!? My house isn’t a circus!” There were a few more fancy words in query, enough to make the skin on his neck peal back , but Randal didn’t care. He had heard that tone many times before, this time he welcomed it, thanked God for it.  This voice had drawn at him like a magnet, pulling him away from the ledge. It was voice of  the woman who had just saved him, only to kill him later. It was the voice that had even gotten him a date by the way River’s eyes sparkled up at him as she shuffled away from his back yard. It was the voice of his mother, the only woman he loved.


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