The Summer I Spent on the Edge

The little house was on the edge of a cliff. It creaked and leaned in all the wrong directions, and I used to think that if the wind blew just the right way, it would carry it right over the edge.

It never did, of course.

But the edge was precarious. Just like our lives that summer, balancing on the edge of a razor. Just a breath of wind in one direction, and we were going over.

It made me uneasy, leaving life up to chance like that. I liked to be in control of things.

It was easy for me to build up the illusion that things were perfect that summer. We were the apple pie and lemonade sort of American family. The whole nine yards. And when you live on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the ocean, the Vietnam War could have been happening on a different planet.

I still remember it.

The day I opened that draft letter is engraved on my mind the way my name would later be engraved on my dog tags. I can still feel the texture of the paper in my hands.

And a little piece of me died right there.

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