The wind is cold and harsh, dancing around me, teasing with its change in pace. It never lessens the threat that just one gust can take its prize. One hundred feet below me, I hear water buffering against the banks. The river awaits my fall, gravity’s concession to nature. History takes no holiday, it forms its own future in my demise.
From high on the roof of the hotel, the vista is rewarding. I replay the highlights before the blindfold was placed. The city scape lighting the night, the reflection muffled in the water below blunting their dominance in the starlit sky.
The breeze whistles again, harsher now. The blindfold is tight to my head. The breeze senses my vulnerability as I make a tentative step. The wind, however, is not the master. It’s her. She whispers slowly behind me as she guides me closer to the edge. I place my right foot forward, with no idea if the stony floor below me will be waiting or I will be hurtling through the air to a watery end below. I hear her talking, her words a metronome to my heart. Having already taken several steps, I know I’m close to the edge. My mind has made a mental count. Five, maybe six steps, would seven be the last? Her voice gives nothing away. She’ll tell me when to stop. I know it won’t be until the last moment, but she will scream, just when I think I can’t go further. When the pressure it’s at the highest, when fear has peaked, when my body is screaming with every ounce of effort it can muster, self-protecting instinct sweating through every pore.
Only then will she say stop…
It is a game we play. She calls it Trust, I call it Dare.
The difference is academic as the game play is everything. It is how we live our life. It’s our cocaine rush, it’s our foreplay. Since the first moment we met, Tanya tempted me.
I remember driving her back from our first date, she told me to take the back road through the country.
‘Do you trust me?’ she said. She wore maroon lipstick which enhanced any words that came from her mouth. Even the dim night I could see how broad the smile was. This was her, this was her energy. Her eyes sharp and focussed.
‘I’m not sure Tanya,’ I replied, unsure what to say. The night was pitch black, the road winding round a series of deep bends.
‘Then let’s find out if you really do,’ she said, placing her hand on my leg ‘The next corner is approaching. I know this road well. I know the last moment to brake to make it round, but you don’t.’ She tightens her grip on my leg. ‘You cannot brake until I tell you. Not even slow down. Your choice Rick, your moment. Trust me and this will be a hell of a ride. Fail me and well…I think you know how it ends.’
I held the speed. Her hand remained on my leg. She moved it slightly over my thigh and I flinch, tentative to her touch, to where this would end. I kept my foot to the floor, her hand moved higher. The corner approached. A light appeared. I knew there was a car coming the opposite way. The margin for error was smaller than ever. A few metres now. I wanted to brake, it was crazy, I should be braking already but still she looked forward, not a hint of fear, her hand now almost at my groin. I tensed body raked with fear and anticipation.
‘Brake,’ she shouted from nowhere, and I did. The car lurched but I made it past the oncoming headlights. I heard a horn in the background, knowing the owner of the other car would be cursing me. But I made it.
‘Now pull over,’ she said. I did.
She pushed my seat back and was on me in seconds. Our tongues met and we fought quickly to open our clothes. The moment unstoppable, the intensity beyond anything I’d experience.
I should have known. It wouldn’t be the last time.
I did turn the tables on her. One time I asked to close her eyes and lean back. She was naked, vulnerable but there was no way she wouldn’t accept the challenge. I smashed a bottle of champagne on the floor behind her, the shattering glass piercing the air, the liquid fizzing as it spread on the floor. If I failed to catch her she would land hard on the broken glass, her back torn to shreds. I thought it was the ultimate Trust Fall.
After the game, she hadn’t let go of me all that night. I didn’t sleep a wink as she clung onto the moment. I knew then it could never stop.
The games became more dangerous. The adrenaline an extreme sport, machismo driven by sexual energy. The last time was never enough. It was onto the next test, like the nearest to death we could get, the bigger the rush, the greater the sex. We’d put our hand in the fire, walked across busy streets without flinching, we’d taken blades to our skin, each cut deeper until one of us would scream to stop. Sex was our reward. Intense, pure orgasm, adrenaline fuelled, passion driven.
‘Another step Rick,’ Tanya says, her voice constant. ‘The edge awaits you like a warm embrace. You dream of this moment, when your body is free of constraint, where the leash is gone and only your instinct survives. You will fly like a bird, rising high in the sky and then coming back to collect me in your arms like the angel you are. Take me with you, take me to the stars.’
My right foot lands. I breathe again, wondering if I can take the next step. I lift my left foot tentatively. The breeze lifts and bullies me, warning me that fate is dangling on a thread. I wobble and the foot returns to where it started.
‘Forward,’ she says, ‘glory awaits.
I lift my foot again, it hangs in the air. I daren’t bring it forward. I can hear her words, same as before but I’m no longer listening. I can’t bring the foot down. My centre of gravity is tilting, the second I move myself forward, I’m committed. If the floor is gone, then I am gone too. But I trust her. Every time we’ve done this, she saves me. In seconds we could be making love, dreaming of our next desire.
She stops talking. I expect the shout to come in the next second and for me to be pulled back.
But it doesn’t. I turn, my faith gone. I can’t take the step. My weight shifts as I turn to the side. My arms reach out to take off the blindfold. A gust catches my body and I stumble. I’m floating… I’m flying… I’m falling. Her scream merges with mine as I crash hard into the water below