he bridge is high, and I am frightened. I no longer know how I got
up here; I only know that I must get down.
A crowd of excited spectators is gathering, expecting me to jump. I
won't! I didn't come to kill myself. I don't know what I came for, but
please, please, just get me out of here! I swear, I'll never come this
A fireman appears, rigs up a ladder from his yellow truck. He urges
me to climb down. No good—I'm as frightened of ladders as I am of
He comes up, urges me to hang over his shoulder like a sack of
potatoes so he can carry me down. Sorry, I tell him—I can't. That
frightens me as much as being up here, as much as having to climb down.
More, in fact, because I'm now relying on someone else not to let me
All right, he says, forget the ladder. We're going to dance instead.
Do you waltz?
I smile. I'm German, I tell him. Don't we all?
I hold out my hands, we move into our proper positions, hand in
hand, hand on waist, hand on shoulder, and music starts. It's Carl Maria
von Weber, "Invitation to the Dance." How did he know that is my
We sway, dip, swing around and around. He's a lovely dancer, and I
tell him so. He smiles, and waltzes me nearer and nearer the edge, where
the ladder is waiting. I hold my breath and—hey! We're still dancing. So
easily does he glide that I barely notice the rungs creaking underfoot
as we swing, dip, sway down and down.
At last we're back on solid ground. The music stops, we back away
from each other. I smile and thank him for the dance.
It was as easy as walking on air, I say, still feeling light.
He laughs. As easy as waltzing down a ladder.
* * * * *
Sabina C. Becker was born in northern Ontario, Canada, in 1967 and currently lives in Cobourg, Ontario. She has two bachelor's degrees: one in English Literature from Queen's University and another in Journalism from Ryerson Polytechnic University.
She is currently working on a futuristic novel set in Toronto. Two of
her stories, "Why they juggle fishes here," and "Writer's block at the Café des Poètes," appeared in Issue #2 of The Cafe Irreal.