It was miles down.
Or so it seemed to a three-year-old. Years later, I saw that 'cliff' was no more than four or five foot, my father's arms could have easily caught me, lifted me down. But there was no way I was going to jump.
There was no way I was going to be dashed on those rocks -- okay, it was a pebbly sand bar -- below. Before the mistrustful man came the mistrustful kid. Then, as now, I had trouble 'reading' people. Even my dad.
We had returned to Ohio for a few weeks, a vacation of sorts and a tying up of loose ends. Our temporary home, that summer, was the 'Hill Farm,' my late grandfather's place in the Hocking Hills. I remember little else of our time there.
But that little event down at the bend of our creek, where a deeper swimming hole had been carved from the rock and sand, the work of uncounted spring floods, stays with me. I even had nightmares later of peering out over that cliff, while voices cajoled me to take the leap. No, Mom. No, Dad. I'm not ready to die!
Ha, I alway knew you liked my little brother better.
And that is the other memory of that summer, of that stay in the hills. My brother. Sickly, whiny little brat, being fussed over by sisters and mom. I do recall going off into another room and crying because they didn't seem to love me anymore. And here I'd always been my big sisters' favorite plaything, their real, live doll.
Feeling sorry for myself...the first time I can recall but certainly not the last.
Stephen Brooke ©2012