I bet you don’t know anyone else who can walk towards a cliff with their eyes closed and never fall off the edge. And a 90 year old, at that! they all say, as if I should be younger. Do they not know how long it took me to See the world?
I’m not bluffing or anything. Ask my friend Fran – she’s seen it. Here, I’ll talk you through it.
You’re on the cliff’s path, right at the top. Now you should be with a friend who can see – you have to have proof this actually happened, after all. You can feel the wind ruffling your hair – can taste the sea on your tongue. You breath in and it’s almost as though you’re breathing too well; as if you’re taking in too much air. You can spread your arms like they do in Titanic here but it won’t feel right. You aren’t facing the sea – you can tell because the breeze isn’t hitting your chest. It’s just buffeting against your hand and arm, almost making it swing towards your face.
It doesn’t feel right, so you turn toward the water. That’s better. But still it’s not perfect.
You begin walking forward – or in my case, inching forward. Now, that has nothing to do with me being scared, mind you (because I’m not). When you get to my age, you’ll realise all you can do is inch.
The pebbles of the path give way to grass. It feels softer than the rocks, but you have to be more careful here: the ground is uneven. And be careful if you’re inching because any loose stone or thick tuft of grass will send you sprawling on your stomach, your head hanging over the cliff as your glasses spin down into the waters below (if you See like me, you’ll hear the faint splash as they break the water. The noise is too faint for the seeing to hear, though).
So the wind’s pushing you back as if it’s scared you’ll fall off the edge onto the jagged rocks below. But it’s not pushing back with all its force; the cliff is still blocking the wind very slightly. Keep moving forward until your palms begin to sweat and you can hear the sea crashing right beneath you rather than just in front of you. You’ll notice the change, don’t worry dear. The light will change too, even if you can’t see: it’ll be brighter than usual behind your lids.
So you’ve stopped here. Catch your breath. Wipe your hands. You’re almost there.
When you’re ready, inch – no, centimetre – forward a little more. Keepgoingkeepgoing until you hear your friend breath in quickly. It’ll be a sharp sound. Ha! You didn’t think I just did this through feel alone, did you? Everyone needs a little help (from their friends) sometimes.
This sharp gasp-like breathing means you’re very close. Take one little centimetre forward and press the toes of your dominant foot into the ground. Well, that is, if the toes of your feet are still on solid ground. If not, you’re there! Right on the edge! If your toes are on solid ground, keep edging forward until they aren’t.
You’ve made it! Now open your arms wide. There’s no greater, more powerful feeling. Just be sure to watch out in case the wind suddenly changes direction – it does that sometimes. If you feel it change, step backwards immediately, else you’ll have to fight your body’s reflexes to step forward… and we all know how that ends.
So there we have it. I guess it’s more dramatic seeing a 90 year old do it as the inching forward looks like normal walking. Still, if you succeed, that feeling as you stand on the edge is unbeatable.
And if you don’t make it? Sorry. You’re an idiot.