JD Almost Dies

The was a girl in my grade who was the fairly pretty ponderous, introverted, poetry-sharing type who asked me several times for me to take her climbing or repelling. In the spring of our senior year there was the definite sense that the window was closing on when we could go. I had lost some interest because I had a girlfriend and the both of them knew about each other. To that end we organized a strictly platonic trip with her little brother along to make sure that it was going to stay that way. There was a gate across the road so we had to hike up about 3 miles carrying the gear and making small talk for about an hour. Her brother had told me how much he knew about rock climbing and rappelling and how he was pretty much an expert in all aspects of the outdoors. When we had hiked up to the top of the cliff we were rappelling off of I could tell right away he may have overstated his qualification because he was having trouble organizing the exact direction in which to put on his harness. We were on top of the cliff that was about 60 feet tall and he was not giving it the proper respect, walking back and forth towards the edge all willy-nilly in a way that gives the guide of any trip with any sort of danger a real sick feeling in the pit other stomach. I had asked him to please stop walking up to the edge until he put on his harness and his rappelling device. He told me he would be fine. To prove his point he walked one more time to the edge and this time actually did grab the rope that was already over the edge and leaned forward and until his chest and torso were literally over the void. Just like in every cheap thriller ever made, he slipped. His legs flew out from underneath him and luckily with the double rope in his hand he was able to stop himself from the plummet with just his legs falling over the edge. I've never been so terrified in my life. I don't think I particularly cared if he died, I really didn't know him at all, I just didn't want them to die on my watch and in my view. I yelled at him and instead of being sufficiently chastened and humbled by his near brush with death he was defiant, saying it was fine because he didn't fall off. We only rappelled one time each and then I took down the rope and I walked back down in a much more surly mood. For the next couple of weeks I would wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat gripped in night terrors convinced I was seeing this kid slide off the edge to his death. I don't think I've ever taken anyone, but my own children rappelling again. Especially not somebody who knew everything about everything and didn't need their safety equipment attached.