My name is Grace Crandall, and I am a senior this year. I began writing short stories when I was 6 or 7 because I was inspired by the books I was already reading. I continued writing both as an escape and as a way to preserve the thoughts, feelings, and details that otherwise would be forgotten in the quickness of life.


I know that I should speak.

The idea begins like a whisper. The mist that curls up around a sunny glade until nothing is left but shadow, and all that can be heard is the ringing of some far off bell. It is the temptation of risk: a moving object gaining speed and momentum as the idea grows. A wish that rushes towards fruition, until it sees the jump it must take to do so.

The words hang on the edges of my lips like a careening vehicle balanced on the edge of a cliff, tottering to-and-fro o’er the sea that roars beneath it. Indecision. Suspense. Moments that stretch into long, heart pounding hours, in which it seems the danger only grows.

There are two options here, and I know both of them. One is leaning forward over the abyss, and letting myself free fall into the insecure belief that something will catch me. It is the thrill of feeling death before safety, and the terrifying attempt to stop myself once I have committed. It is pounding worry and sweaty hands. Long, long minutes.

The other option is to remain quiet. To slowly pull back from the cliff, retreating into whatever lies behind. Feeling the rush of safety return, and the oxygen flood my lungs, is a beautiful letdown. But the “what if” continues, and the desire to jump off the same cliff as those I know. The human longing for someone to cheer as I fall, to catch me in safety and listening replies at the end. After I refuse to jump, I often wish that I did.

In class, I know that I should speak.