By Victor Schwartzman

Earnest stood on the edge of a cliff.

He hated losing friends. People came and went. He hated losing connections. He hated losing people.

Casual friends dropped out as casually as they dropped in. Some were charming and he missed them. Those losses caused some pain.

People he’d known for years was worse. It did matter any longer who caused the break-up.

Sometimes his fault, sometimes theirs, usually both. On rare occasions he recovered the relationship, but it never was the same.

Worst were people he’d known since childhood.

Over time, as he aged, diversions no longer comforted. New friends were hard to make. He had less reason, after all.

Maybe the worst was being lonely, being left only with the memories of those he’d loved.

And, so, Earnest stood on the cliff.

He did not go to the cliff to jump. Behind him was no one. Before him, a huge canyon and air.

Earnest came there regularly, to look at the birds.

They flew, they soared. Occasionally in groups but mostly alone. Alone and flying above the rocks.

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