We fell in love over ropes. Literally. “You can trust me,” you whispered, your warm breath at my ear. I leaned out over the cliff edge, you rappelled, I abseiled into love.
In the beginning, you led our climbs. You had experience and certainty. I had trust and willingness. I dropped down cliff faces with my life and my heart in your hands.
Until the first time you dropped me. Metaphorically, of course. We were at lunch. In the middle of the main course.
“It’s the end of the line,” you said. What was I to do. Get up and leave mid-meal? I spun the spaghetti around and around my spoon until it became tangled and knotted.
“I slipped up,” you said. We all slip once, I told myself.
The second time was one week before we left for our overseas holiday. You thought it would be kinder to me to let me know the end of the holiday would also be the end of our relationship. Six weeks, six countries with me dancing on the end of a rope of hope.
“Once is a mistake, twice is a coincidence,” my friend remarked when you returned full of apologies and promises.
“You are the ground beneath my feet,” you said.
My heart fell for your words.
The third time I recognised signs of fraying. You began looking away while making love, my quirky, adorable traits became sigh-worthy, you stopped double-checking my ropes.
Then you started teaching again.
New students captured your full attention as you coaxed them to lean out over the edge. “Look into my eyes,” you whispered to one. “You can trust me.”
“…But three times is a pattern.” My friend finally finished her sentence.
The last time I saw you, were you leaning out over that ledge. It was my turn to rappel.