I knew it was a dream. It was always the same. I was standing on the edge of a cliff. But instead of a drop down into a canyon or a river or a valley, there was nothing. Just emptiness. Like it was the edge of the world as I knew it, and beyond was fear and doubt. And excitement. I didn't have that insane urge to jump off like some people describe, it was more like a light wind, perhaps created by the vacuum of the empty space, was tugging me. I was resisting, yet I couldn't back away from the edge. It compelled me. What was in there? What if I could have everything I could possibly want and need if only I would have the courage to jump off? I looked behind me, and a white earth, covered in white dust, stretched back behind me as far as I could see. Mountains, white not from snow, created a serrate skyline. But there was something else, something I'd never noticed in this dream before. There was a small figure moving toward me. I peered at it and realised it was me, only much younger. The girl looked about six, maybe seven years old. She wore a white dress. She stopped, startled, as if she had just noticed me.
"Who are you?" she whispered.
My mouth made a speaking motion but words didn't come out.
"Why are you wearing white?" I finally said.
The girl looked at me as though I had just asked her if she knew what one plus one was.
"Why are you?"
I looked down at myself, and sure enough, I was wearing white jeans and a white shirt.
"Not sure," I admitted.
I looked back out into the expanse of nothing. If it's possible to describe 'nothing' as expansive. I wasn't sure about that either. I wasn't sure of a lot of things. The girl had obviously become bored with me and had plainly identified me as a sort of non-threat. She wandered to the edge of the cliff and sat down, cross-legged.
"Isn't it pretty." She sighed. It wasn't a question.
She clearly wasn't afraid of being so close to falling off, and somehow saw a different view from what I was seeing. Things don't really make sense in dreams. I went and sat down cross-legged beside her. I gazed blankly out into the emptiness. Maybe it's space. I looked around for stars. But it wasn't really black. Or any sort of other colour for that matter. It was just the colour of nothing. Something that can only exist in a dream; where nothing need be explained. I did wonder why I was constantly having this dream, though. What did it mean?
The girl pulled out a sheet of white paper and folded it slowly.
"Do you like origami?" she asked, although it didn't seem like the question was directed at me.
"I… I guess it's nice," I replied.
She ignored me.
Was this what I was like when I was that age? Surely I wasn't so pensive and quiet. It must be a different girl. Or me at that stage physically with my current mental state. Did it even matter? It was only a dream after all.
The girl had finished folding the paper in various ways and had somehow made a very nice-looking crane. I couldn't really see the process of her folding in my dream, which probably had something to do with the awake version of me not knowing how to make one. In any case, there sat a white origami crane in her hand, regardless of whether or not she really knew how to make it.
"It's a nice crane," I said, complimenting it politely.
She smiled, but more to herself than to me.
"You're silly," she said, turning to look me in the eye.
"Why's that?" I asked, taken aback.
"Because you're afraid of the edge. Father says never be afraid of the edge."
The girl blew gently on the crane and its wings shivered. They became still, but then twitched again, and again, each time more rigorously than the last. Eventually, they flapped with a consistency and speed that allowed the crane to hover above the girl's hand. She blew on it again and it started moving away from us, closer to the nothingness. I watched it fly. Suddenly, it seemed to burst into flame, but it had just turned from white into a mélange of vibrant reds and oranges.
"Do you see?" she inquired.
I nodded. "Yes. I see."
And I reached my hand out into the nothingness.