Writing Contest Winner – Hayley Nisbet – Teen Short Story

Hayley Nisbet - Teen Short Story Winner

Short Story

by Hayley Nisbet

There he stood, at the door of the airplane, feet planted steadily on the floor. But he couldn’t make himself dive. He wanted to, wanted to feel the free fall the wind blowing around him. But he couldn’t. Not now, not after the accident. It was five years ago when his wife had first tried to cure him of his phobia. He had always been afraid of heights, ever since he could remember. He never went higher than the middle branches of the apple tree in the front of the house he grew up in. His wife thought that a sky diving trip would help him. Make him love something he once hated. She tried once a year, every year for four years. Every year the same thing happened, she would dive first, and he would stand at the door of the airplane, feet planted steadily on the ground. Every year, it turned out okay, until the fourth and final year she dove. She packed her out parachute, which she never did. She glanced at her husband, smiled and winked, which she always did. “This is the year, I know it.” She whispered quietly in his ear. Then she walked to the door, looked back at her husband one last time, then jumped confidently from the platform. He scurried to the door, grabbed the threshold and held on for dear life. He counted slowly in his head like they taught in the class, 5, 10, 15 seconds. Why wasn’t she pulling her chute? Had she tried already? He watched as she fell faster and faster. He watched with certain eagerness, waiting for something else to happen. Nothing, she just kept falling. He finally had to turn away; he couldn’t watch this happen knowing there was nothing he could do. He didn’t see it, but he knew before the pilot had a chance to tell him. Now, he stood there, a year after the accident. At the door of the airplane, feet planted steadily on the ground, clutching the threshold for dear life. His eye lids clenched tightly together. He could see his wife’s curly golden hair, her emery eyes; he could see her perfect smile. He could see her in her favorite black dress; he could even smell her perfume. He jumped, eyes still shut tightly, he counted then pulled the cord, the chute deployed and four and a half minutes later he landed on the ground. He opened his eyes and heard, “This is the day, I know it.”

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