I Left My Heart in Missouri

by Jane Moneypenny

On my last day today, I did the quintessential MO thing and went on a float trip. I suddenly decided the weather was too perfect on Sunday to miss an opportunity to have one more adventure and so the next thing I knew, I had pushed back my leaving day a day later and was planning a float trip. And oh, was the weather so perfect. A gorgeous 85, slightly overcast with the sun coming out at the right times. A raft of 3 young boys kept drifting near us until the youngest one (must have been about 7) and asked the 13-year old why. His response: “Because I want to see the boobs!” Ah, low cut bathing suits.

I think I could have laid on that raft forever, listening to the drunken laughter of my friends and wishing life could always be this good. I had said a sad good-bye to my apartment (think Sex and the City movie when Carrie closes the door behind her) and the car was packed to the tippy top. So I had nothing to do but float on a lazy river in Missouri. All day, my heart hurt. I never actually thought leaving here would make me feel heartbreak, but it clinched in my chest and settled in my stomach. Secretly, I wanted the day to last forever, so I could always have the potential of leaving tomorrow but forever enjoying that last day.

When we got to the end, there was a giant cliff to dive off of. The guys jumped with little problems as I snapped away with the old-school disoposable camera. Oh, how I wanted to jump! But I’m a weak swimmer, deeply fear deep water and really, let’s be honest, that’s insane! My heart wouldn’t let go of the idea. Because WHY NOT? I had already thrown my life into the wind and was flying at the seat of my pants; might as well cliff jump into a river. And then suddenly, I said yes and was climbing up the rocky incline and standing very high above the 2 guys promising they would save me if I started drowning.

It felt like I stood there forever, but it must have been only 10 minutes. A lot of talking, a lot of promises, a lot of fear. The rest of the girls were yelling at me to abort the mission, but something made me stay up there. “Stop thinking and just jump!,” they yelled from the bottom.

And so I did.