The 17th of April 1996 – Wichita, Kansas

(found taped to the door of Dr. Munson’s office)


My family just got back from our trip to Venezuela, and my mom told me to come see you right away.

Doc, have you ever been to Angel Falls? You should check it out online, or better yet, you should go there yourself. It’s a great place.

Our tour group went there on one of the first nights. The sun was just starting to set by the time our bus parked and everyone got out to the railing. It was a sight, doc. Reds and purples from the sunset stained the trees and bushes all around us. From just the way the sun was shining, the whole waterfall was lit this bright yellow, dazzling against the wall of the cliff it flowed down.

Everyone oohed and ahhed as they snapped their pictures and posed for their friends back home. I just watched. I followed the water all the way down to where it crashed onto the rocks on the ground.

I had a thought, and, before I thought any better of it, it just came out.

I turned to my mother and I said it. I don’t know the exact words, but it was about jumping or falling and hitting the rocks, crunching against them just like the waterfall was doing. You know, typical.

She gasped first, and she clutched at the midriff of her blouse. Then she looked at me with that look of hers and she said “Don’t say things like that.”

“But it’s what I think about,” I told her.

“Well, first thing when we get back,” she said. “You better get to the doctor.”

Doc, that got my mom pretty bothered. Not me so much, but that got mom pretty bothered.

I did want to see you about something though, doc.

There’s this Brazilian boy in our tour group. You shoulda seen him, doc. Tan and strong jawed and wiry, you shoulda seen him. And he kept smiling at me. That’s my real problem right now. I know what my mom’s worried about. She thinks I’m gonna jump off a cliff or something like that. But it’s this Brazilian boy, this Oscar. Doc, just say his name. “Oscar.” I can only whisper it. “Oscar.” We hung around each other all week, doc, and I do think I could only ever whisper his name. “Oscar.”

One night, towards the end, we were out by the pool. I don’t know what happened, but I slipped in. I was alright, but Oscar jumped in right after me. He must have thought he was going to save me or something, but I was just alright. He cinches his arms around me and starts dragging me to the shallow end. I’m shouting the whole time “I’m alright, I’m alright,” but he doesn’t relax until we’ve both sat down on the cement steps by the towel rack. And that’s when I leant in to kiss him. And that’s when he pushed me away. And then that was it.

I thought he was going to save me.

From Claude Schweringer

(785) 555 – 6424


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