Andrea suddenly awoke and shot straight up, blinking furiously. Her shirt clung to her skin, the air hot and sticky. ‘Oh’, thought Andrea, embarrassed. ‘How can I forget? It’s summer vacation and I traveled pretty much to the opposite side of the world to visit my family… and now I’m going to some waterfall and pool place, aren’t I?’ She sighed and gently held her own tired head along with the patterned, soft rumble of the car slowly climbing up, higher and higher…

“Andrea!” She slowly turned her head back up in respond to the familiar voice of her mother. “Aren’t your ears popping?” Andrea blinked, just realizing that they were driving up a mountain.

Moments later, the car came to a slow stop. “We’re here!” screeched Bliss, nearly falling out of the car just to get out. Everyone else took their time to climb out, most excited for fun. Andrea took her first step outside as the last person to exit the car. There was the rustle of rocks beneath her feet, unsettled and crunching about. In front of her were rusty metal stairs heading downwards. “Everyone’s probably already down there by now,” Andrea silently mumbled to herself, her head heavy with uneasiness.

She gingerly took a step, then another, and another. A couple steps later, Andrea realized that she was going faster and faster, anxious to see at least one relative in front of her. “UGH,” she complained aloud. “How long does it take just to get to that waterfall?!”

With that, she took off running down the stairs, her flip-flops slapping against her feet down each step. As quick as a flash, Andrea accidentally took a misstep. Her foot took in place the edge of a tough step and automatically kicked off, throwing herself into the air. In a split second, her eyes bulged, mouth wide open, and only managing to let out a horrified gasp. Andrea closed her eyes shut tight and gritted her teeth letting out silent sounds of pain as she tumbled down each and every torturous metal step down the interminable staircase.

Finally, she plopped down the last step of the staircase to a rusty platform high up, overlooking a beautiful waterfall. Still lying on the floor, the young girl managed to look past the orange “spotted” bars, able to see the whole view. The glimmering water rushed down in a nature matter, with healthy, full plants surrounding all over. The water dropped down to a pool of glistening water with natural rocks, and plants still embroidered the view, accenting the beauty of the strong maverick waterfall.

Andrea struggled but managed to stand up, gripping the rail for support. Filled with confidence and encouragement, she slowly walked down the last flight of stairs towards the waterfall. All her cousins were already there, laughing, taking pictures, stepping in the water ankle-deep. Andrea just paused and stood there for a moment, having no thoughts on what to do. Deciding to not ruin the fun, she tried to hold in her pain, make it disappear.

She walked over to the water and looked down. The gleaming water shot back an image of her own face, with no signs of tumbling down the stairs in pain. She quickly held out her arms and carefully studied them, just to find them normal. She then slapped her arms back down and looked down at her legs. Not one single scratch was visible. Andrea looked around once more, confused. Finally giving up and convinced she really wasn’t hurt, she shrugged to herself, embarrassed that she had even thought of death.

COLD!” Andrea glanced up, finding Mel shuddering as if in ice from the Arctic. It appeared he had already ran in knee-high into the chilly water, his light brown khaki shorts dark and soaked, dripping off the edges.

“Mel!” Andrea shouted out teasingly, surprised at her own voice that was still shaky. “Get out of there…!” Her same-aged cousin stuck his tongue out at her, making her roll her eyes with a smile.

Andrea looked down once again and bent down. She grudgingly started to hold out her hand out to feel the water. The
cool water rushed against her hand, relieving it from its stress that filled it. Andrea stood up once again, grinning. She shook her hand out, water showering out, with the warm fresh air flowing through her long fingers. ‘Well, I guess that wasn’t really so many steps after all,’ Andrea thought. ‘Some pain… I’ve got to stop thinking things are so painful. Let’s see, that was…’ She continued her thoughts aloud, “One, two…”

Warmth rushed to her cheeks at her own thoughts. “Three. Just three.” Andrea started walking back up the stairs, following her crowd of family.

“Three steps,” She murmured, remembering at her thought of pain and realizing how painless the fall really was.

“Baby, wasn’t that nice?” Andrea’s mother smiled back at her after saying her daughter’s “nickname”.

“Yes,” She replied, shooting a bright grin back at her. ‘Baby,’ she thought. ‘That’s what I was when I fell three steps. A baby.’ Andrea rolled her eyes at her own thought as she reached the top of the metal staircase.