Inga stood on the ledge and looked down. Below her, the water lapped quietly at the shore.
The wind blew, pushing against her back, urging her to jump. Inga thought about it, but no, not yet.
She closed her eyes and spread her arms and let the wind flow around her. Small gusts, never enough to unbalance her, but always that gentle push forward, over the edge. The sand below was a bright gold, the water caressing, the sun making it all glisten and gleam like a thousand jewels in a monarch’s ill-gotten treasure chest.
Inga opened her eyes again. In the distance, she could see an island. Not large, but uninhabited, at least as much as she could see. Mostly green, full of trees and bushes. But too far to be sure. Too far to even know if it was real. Maybe it was a trick of the light, or her mind. It didn’t matter.
Inga lowered her arms. She looked down again. She reached her foot forward to the first step. She found it, hoped it wouldn’t give way beneath her. She took another step. And another.
The wind followed her down the stairs, pushing her forward toward the water. Tempting her over the side. She listened to the wind, but didn’t give in. It kept swirling and prodding, suggesting and demanding. She kept her counsel, but listened to its ideas.
Reaching the bottom of the steps, Inga placed her feet on the sand. Shifty sand. Never stable, always moving. Soft and sweet.
She walked to the water, stopped just above the waves, and looked out. The island was gone. Out of view, out of mind, out. Inga breathed in. The wind told her to go find it. She considered it. She turned around.
Walking back up the steps, the wind fought, but she fought back. She reached the top again, turned and looked. A sliver, perhaps, on the horizon. The wind was quieter now, giving one last half-hearted attempt. She turned away, walking home.