“But what if you disappear?”
“I will return, in an uncertain amount of time.”
I made nothing of it at the time. It seemed almost routine. You roped your waist and descended into the dark abyss. Slow, steady, sure. I should have spotted the fear in your eyes.
I stood guard every day near that wretched hole. Not a bit of light dared penetrate the darkness. The rope was still stretched and tightly wound, twitching ever so slightly with any bigger movement. I waited and the days went by. Other guards gave nods of your progress, ever so sparse. Then.
The rope went limp.
It all seemed so routine and now I was scared. I would like to say I tried to pull the rope out but I have not. I would like to say I tried to help but I did not. Only a thousand yard stare and my mouth agape.
Others have returned from the darkness. They solemnly shook their heads and said little. I know you’re not dead. They say you are not dead. I hoped you were dead. The dead do not haunt me as much as you do.
I have ventured into the darkness before, of course. We all have. There are depths into which none dare cross. Only the foolish ones have no rope and no guard. Only the truly desperate ones cut their ropes.
I still wait at the edge if the darkness. Lantern lit. The rope, limp. I await even the smallest tug, a sign of return.
I am so very, very scared.