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Bryce Canyon 2
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it was late in the afternoon as we drove into the park. not quite dusk, but close. Ann seems to have calmed down and I’m so hopeful that when we finally stop that we can talk. that we can figure out how to find some common ground and work through this. I’m too consumed with these thoughts and feelings to appreciate the incredible beauty that we are passing as we drive to our destination. we finally arrive at the parking lot for an overlook into the main part of the park. no sooner than I put the car in park did Ann grab the door handle and push the door open with her shoulder and jump out, without a word. I follow her as she walks to the edge of the canyon. it hadn’t occurred to me that she would consider jumping, but I know that she has that in her. I thought two hours earlier that she had jumped out of the moving car. and I’ve watched her harm herself more than once. the thought rushed into me like a flash of lighting and I felt a tingle rolling up from toes to head. oh shit, she might jump. by the time I reach Ann, she is crouched down, inches from the edge of a large cliff and she is looking over the edge. she looked at me and starts up again with arguing and yelling. ‘you don’t love me’, ‘you never loved me’. I asked her to calm down and asked her if she was going to jump. she didn’t answer. instead again, ‘you don’t love me’, ‘you never loved me’. I was speechless. I started to cry again. tears streaming down my face. Ann, please don’t do this. why are you doing this? she didn’t answer and we both stopped talking for some minutes. I watched her. her beautiful face hardened into a scowl. intent on staring down the cliff face and not looking up. this went on for what felt like forever. time seemed to stand still. heart beating out of my chest. thoughts racing. I don’t know what to do. I was begging her. please, please, please don’t jump. all without answer. finally she made a swift movement to stand. I watched her every move with horror. she stood at the edge for a few more seconds as if to give jumping one last consideration. instead, she turned and quickly walked back to the parked car. she wasted no time in rifling through her stuff to pull out a sleeping bag and her purse. nothing else. without a word, she walked away. all the while, my pleading continued. I still don’t know what happened really for her to snap. I haven’t had time to think, but I’m so confused. how did this happen? why did this happen? the sun was going down and I didn’t know what to do. after some minutes of gathering myself, wiping my tears and finding some composure, I asked around about camping. after some searching, I found the campground and found my spot. it was almost dark when I finally made camp and I was too exhausted and drained to do anything but crawl into my sleeping bag and go to sleep. as you could imagine, it took me quite some time to fall asleep. I was kept up by my worry about where Ann may be and if she was ok. I was kept up by the pain in my heart. how could I be in this mess. is this really love? why would she do this to me? occasionally, I could hear neighboring campers laughing and having a good time around the fire. that seemed to make it all feel worse as I lamented the loss of this wonderful trip that we had planned for so long. this was going to be such a fun adventure. after a fitful night sleep, I woke up early and made some breakfast. oatmeal. I could hardly eat really, but I had a big day ahead, so I knew that I needed to eat. I was determined to find Ann today. she must be looking for me as well, right? I scoured the map as I at my oatmeal, picking out the main points in the park that I plan to hit. I knew this was a long shot, but maybe I will find her and maybe we can work this out and salvage our trip. as I write this 22 years later, I can smile and cringe at my deep desire to be loved. and my inability to understand that love isn’t always healthy. I want to tell my 19 year old self. you are strong. you are loved. you have worth. take care of yourself.

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