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🌟 Falling

Mom peeled herself off of the rock and grew to her full height as we backed away from the edge. The leafy valley disappeared behind the rim and suddenly nothing was familiar. I don't just mean that we'd never been there before, but it was like we were on another planet. The basketball-grey color was straight outta Mars, but the rocky layers were more like something off of Jupiter.

"Now what?" I asked.

Mom checked to make sure the cliff wasn't coming after her before turning to the Marsscape behind us. "Let's look around a bit before we go back down."

We didn't hike so much as follow Mom's curiosity from photo to photo. The ground swooped and curled as if it were moving around us and not the other way around. It pinched so close at times that I could only see a few steps in front of me. Other times it opened so wide that I could see all the way to the end of the earth. Mom took a picture of me in front of every ripple of it.

"You're supposed to be paying attention, remember?" I said.

"I am paying attention. Sit. Lookit me." She snapped her fingers over her head. "I'm noticing all of these places to take pictures, aren't — Over here! Sit. Lookit me."

Mom was so busy paying attention that she didn't notice how there was less and less rock ahead. Until she couldn't help but notice.

"Oscar! Get behind me!" she practically screamed.

Mom tip-toed toward where the rock disappeared, and hung there for a moment, frozen in place. She ulped like a coyote who's just realized that he's run a few steps too far. Instead of a whistling fall, Mom backed away ungrandly toward ground she could trust.

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