[twitter]I held my breath and ran. Or at least I tried to run. It was like a dream, where your legs are in mud and the more desperately you try to go faster, the slower you end up moving.
I couldn’t get any traction on the icy hill in my rubber snow boots, but I stumbled and sprinted as quickly as I could to try and catch Charlie before he sailed over the cliff.
It hadn’t snowed for a couple of weeks, it had been sunny, and our favorite toboggan run had been glazed into a crispy field of ice. It would be impossible for Charlie to climb to the top of the run, so we stopped at the middle bump and I pushed him off the smaller hill.
And then he started to drift to the right. Towards the cliff, a nearly 4 foot drop from the schoolyard to the parking lot, a steep drop off a retaining wall. Usually the boys wear helmets when we sled, today they weren’t, and so I sprinted. Stumbling, and falling across the ice that caused Charlie to go faster and me to go slower.
I yelled for him to put out his feet to slow down, for him to roll off his magic carpet, but he did none of it. He just drifted down the slope towards the cliff.
I didn’t make it.
Charlie sailed head first off the drop smacking on to the pavement below.
The kids had gone over jumps in the past. I have a great picture of Zacharie at this same hill doing what he calls “the flying squirrel” (top).
But this wasn’t a jump. It was a drop. Charlie went straight over the edge and I heard the thud. I heard the stony skid of his slide on the pavement. Then there was the eternal silence, and finally, just as I stumbled over the edge to reach him, his cry.
Our fun afternoon of ‘bogganing had taken a sudden turn, but if we were in many cities across North America it’s a turn that would have broken the law. Because lawyers.