Between the Leap and the Splash

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Photo by Serkan Turk

There’s a moment between the man’s
leap from the pier and his
splash into the frigid water when
he knows without a doubt
that he’s going to die.

In that falling moment
he realizes that he knew he was going to die
before he even jumped,
the decision made in electric-split-instant
as he made his move to evade capture —
rather dead than captive.

He has made his decision and
even if he would change it now if he could
he’s happy he did it,
for he’d prefer to die the kind of man who dies
rather than surrenders.

In that air-hanging instant
he reviews everything he’s done
and everything he’s not
and it all looks like a
carefully crafted road map
leading always and inevitably
to that moment —
a story tightly plotted
to lead neatly to that end.

Surprisingly for him
there’s nothing he wishes he’d done
or not done,
there’s only a marveling
at how coherent everything seems
for the first time in his life.

His was a life lived in his own shadow
a man outside the crowds
a man who swore no allegiance to any tribe
a man who saw the gears in the robot’s eyes
and never blinked.

So it was that he was ready to die
maybe happy even, not out of despair
but out of a sense of a job
well done —
mission accomplished,
his own strange fate completed with courage.

So it is and so it was
and so he faces his pursuers above and
his water grave below and


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