Hissing through her teeth against the pain from her bruised thighs, she dragged her legs up and swung them over the guardrail. Time for a rest.
Panting, she sat gingerly atop the narrow handrail and leaned her head against the iron lamppost she had held tight to as she pulled herself up and over.
The water below was quiet and still, a perfect mirror of the sky above.
She looked down through a lens of tears at the silver and grey kaleidoscope the scudding clouds cast across the reflected moon. Jerkily, she swiped the back of a hand across her eyes.
She imagined jumping. The stillness of the air would give way to teasing whispers of wind in her hair as she rushed towards the water. When she broke through, the mirror would shatter for a time and thousands upon thousands of silver-bright moons would dance under the one above.
Perhaps somebody would walk by and wonder at the glistening ballet below.
She turned her head to watch the stillness of the campus beyond the lake.
Nothing moved. It seemed nobody was going to see the moons' dance after all.
Hot tears rushed anew. She knew the cloying stickiness between her legs could never be washed away, knew beyond any doubt that she could never face anyone with confidence, or pride, again.
Agreeing to play backgammon in a friend's dorm room had ruined everything.
The moon shone unchanged despite men's careless footprints. Her hand wouldn't let go of the rail.