Me and Jimmy, we usually would go to the swimming quarry, an older quarry surrounded by trees and filled with deep clear water, but on this day we came up here to what we call Dry Quarry, a place cut into the side of the hill with a great view, which is one reason to climb up here, but we also just enjoy chucking pieces of granite from our high perch on the ledge over the cut and watching it disappear and then hearing it crash and shatter below on the shelf of granite at the bottom of the quarry.
I sat down when we got up there, just enjoying the view for a bit, and to be honest, the height does bother me, I like to sit down and get centered, but Jimmy, fearless and surefooted even on that sheer ledge, you know how he is, always in motion, he’s already chucking rocks and gathering up a pile of them for when he’s ready for a more methodical chucking.
I’ll never in all my life forget what happened next and how it happened, and even though we have an English teacher who tells us it’s bad to use clichés, sometimes things just happen a certain way and that’s how it gets told, like when Jimmy stepped on loose rock that moved like marbles and he skidded backwards and right off the edge and into the air, it was like watching a cartoon. That English teacher, she also said something about a suspension of disbelief and that was the look on Jimmy’s face, like he just couldn’t believe that he was in the air, and I swear it was like he was suspended there just off the ledge and in the air and like a cartoon he seemed to believe that he might be able to run on air or to flap his way back to where I sat. But then, after that split second that seemed to last forever, it became apparent that gravity would have its way, even with Jimmy, and he, still suspended in air it seemed, still looking at me, seemed to know it too and so he stopped flapping and flailing and tried one more trick; he turned in the air facing out over the quarry, and folded forward and then kicked his feet up overhead, arms reaching down and he descended in perfect dive form as if by doing so the granite would part like water and take him in and let him arc back up to break the surface, triumphant.
And this might sound cliché, but because of that time Jimmy had stolen a bunch of melons from that hippie market garden and we brought them up here to chuck, I can tell you from first hand experience that when his head hit it really did sound like a melon coming apart and that the only thing that echoed against the granite walls was silence.