She held the pen suspended over the page, afraid to embark as if she stood in the doorway of a helicopter with her toes hanging over the edge. She stared down at the vast distance between the plunge and the safety of the ground. Only now, the ground wasn’t comfort but a thing to fear. The hallowed ground would splat her brains and leave her guts strung out for the vultures to devour, but she knew she was safe, knew someone was strapped to her back, knew this was an experience she wanted – no, needed. And yet, she looped in a singular moment like a stuck needle scratching at a record player. Over and over again, the pen pecked at the blank page.

A busker began to perform outside the little coffee shop where she was sitting. She had a front-row seat by the window, which was open to entice a breeze on this mid-July afternoon. The busker sang with a strong and fearless voice, unrestrained by the grey murk of an unfulfilled life. They shined with all the beauty she wished she had. It was as if an angel was mocking her.

People stopped in the street: some of them clapped, a couple even danced, all smiled. Not the half-sincere kind she was used to receiving, but the types of smiles that could never be faked, the ones that connected the corners of their mouths to the corners of their eyes. The faces in the growing crowd reflected the busker’s bright light.

She stepped out of the helicopter. Her pen swished and flourished like a conductor. Marking this moment for posterity and letting all who read it know that now, she was very much alive.