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The Fall

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The Fall

i –

oh, Chris I still believe

the heart of you is here with me

my heart, against all odds holds still…

She’s giving up hope, banging on the gates and screaming with everyone else, please, please, get-me-out-my-husband-is-there-let-me-through when suddenly he’s there, gripping her hands through the cold metal bars. “Chris, help me, get me out!”

He’s saying something, and she can’t hear him over the approaching helicopter, over the shrieks and shouts of the roaring, seething crowd, but somehow, she makes out, “Climb, Kim! Climb!”

There’s no way they’re going to open the gates. She slings their bag around her body, looks up and grasps the metal that’s slippery and freezing against her skin. She almost falls, again and again, and the people around her have fallen silent, some Marines are shouting and then she’s nearing the barbed-wire at the top of the gate, and she can’t see Chris, she can’t see him…keep climbing, Kim, keep climbing.

The barbed wire cuts deep into her skin, but she doesn’t feel the pain, she can’t let herself feel the pain, blood is running in bright trickles down her arms, soaking into the ripped silk of her dress, and then she’s over and clinging to the metal, it’s so high up and she feels the world spinning.

“Jump, Kim! Jump – we’ll catch you.” The voice comes from so far away that she’s not sure it’s real, but she obeys it anyway, collapsing away from the bars and the last thing she feels is a strange sense of weightlessness before someone catches her and she feels herself falling into darkness.


When she wakes up, there’s a chopping sound, loud and near, and insistent gusts of air blowing her hair away from her face. Warm arms are around her, and then all she can see is Chris, his eyes fixed on hers and he says, “Don’t you ever do anything like that to me again.”

“Don’t you, either,” she manages back, swallowing the dry feeling that’s like there’s a bird nesting in her mouth. “What were you thinking, leaving me at home?”

“I’m sorry. I thought we’d have more time…but you’re here. We got out. It’s all that matters.”

She reaches up to touch his cheek, and he manages a wan smile. There are bandages on her hands. He sees her looking.

“You got pretty cut up on that barbed wire.”

She tries to move her fingers. “Ouch.”

“Yeah, I know. I wouldn’t do that.”

She leans into him, and he sighs into her hair, tightening his arms around her waist. Around them, the sky falls away in shades of the dawn. Across from them is John, glowering a little, a couple of other soldiers and a man in civilian clothes, with a tight, pained look on his face. The helicopter starts to move downwards, and then they’re landing, touching down thump-thump onto a ship out in the bay. The others get up and start to move towards the door. Kim starts to stand up, but before her feet get anywhere near the ground, Chris has picked her up as though she weighs as little as a feather and carries her onto the grey asphalt.

“I am never letting go of you again,” he murmurs in her ear, and she smiles up at him.

“I can live with that.”