Cliff Diving into the Underworld by Genevieve Mills

I jumped.

You would have done the same thing if you spent your entire life surrounded by beautifully useless flowers and your mom was the goddess of fucking wheat. If you ran through fields of roses hoping you would step on a bee or a thorn just to feel something besides the gentle tickle of petals. If you had picked up a sad dead bee and wondered which of you had it better and the next second a giant pit opened in the ground in front you, you would jump. If the earth rumbled and cracked, if flowers disappeared and left behind the darkest black you had ever seen, you too would look at the gaping chasm and see an invitation. An escape. You wouldn’t be thinking of your mom, or what might happen when you hit the bottom. You’d curl your toes into the dirt at the edge of the cliff and you’d take the leap.

And don’t tell me you wouldn’t let out a scream on the way down, wouldn’t open your mouth as wide as you could and push all of the air out of your lungs as adrenaline filled your veins. The roar of air rushing past you the loudest sound you’d ever heard. It’s not my fault that scream of excitement was later confused for a scream of terror. Girls who spend their lives working on their tans don’t scream much. I was rusty.

You would have done the same thing if you were a girl who had been hidden away in an eternal springtime, had been told every man was just looking for sex and once you gave it up no one would want you. If you landed in the arms of a handsome man with eyes like shadows, wouldn’t you think that virginity was overrated anyway? If he offered to make you queen of the underworld, when before your only followers had been a few nymphs and the flowers, wouldn’t you say yes in a heartbeat? If his lips met yours and made you shiver for the first time in your life, wouldn’t you do anything to stay with him? You’d take his hand and let him show you this new world of death and decay. You’d like it when the dead bowed to you and the furies shrieked your name. You’d eat some pomegranate seeds and stain your lips red. When you fucked him you’d finally feel alive, in the world of the dead. The cold and the dark made me feel better than the sunshine ever did.

I bet you’d jump and trade flowers for bones.

Genevieve Mills graduated from the University of Louisville with a Bachelor’s in French and English and a love of language. Her work has appeared in Crab Fat Magazine.