Yasmeen Tajiddin grew up in El Paso, Texas and Kuwait but is currently living in Georgia. She is a student with a love of stories, whether she’s reading or writing them. Her nose can run faster than she ever will, but she's gifted with icy hands, meticulous planning skills, and speed reading. This is her first publication, but she hopes it is the first of many.
I stare down into the chasm. I’ve been preparing for this. I can do six push-ups in a row and I have my best sneakers on. Today is the day I hurdle over the foot and a half long storm drain that has tormented me for years. The hole is so deep it reaches the earth’s core. Thin streaks of smoke float up to my face. I recognize the smell of brimstone or what I think is the smell of brimstone according to Shrek.
After a couple of shallow breaths, I turn to my sister. She looks up at me, her eyes filled with fear and her face stained red. She is eating the cherry popsicle I have been saving for two and half days. I swallow my anger. This is no time for distractions. I give her a gentle, and possibly the last ever, hug as to not break her frail bones with my bulging four-and-a-half-year-old muscles.
While stepping towards the ledge, I feel a microscopic hand grab my bicep. It’s my sister. She begs me to reconsider but this is something I have to do. I rip my arm away from her and head back towards the ledge; reacquainting myself with the stench of brimstone.
With a backwards step and a wheeze, the official Olympic running position: knee to the face, fingertips grazing the ground, and a menacing squint. I assume I push off the dusty driveway. A cloud accumulates behind me and I hear my sister coughing in the distance. As my toes reach the brink, I jump. Air whips through my braids and ears. I pray to survive.
I land in a lunge with my right heel teetering over the edge; the perfect position for a victory punch. A breath of pride escapes me. I turn around and scream my success at my sister. She takes what is left of the popsicle out of her mouth to give a half-hearted, obviously jealous, smile. I respond with a hair flip and a sharp 180 degree turn and am met by my mother holding a camera, ready to document my best moment.
I bare my teeth and imitate a pose from a gangster movie I definitely should not have been watching.
I will never do anything as incredible as this.