Boundaries

By Terrance Riverdarb

"How high do you think it is?" Luke asked.

The question echoed around in Nathan's mind, much like louder words often did across the canyon down below them. Nathan had wondered himself, much before Luke had asked. He had thought about it before their car had pulled up near the edge of the cliff they now stood peering over, and even before he suggested that they took the detour so he could get some pictures for his photography project.

"Pretty high," Nathan admitted, "I bet nobody would survive a fall like this."

Luke nodded. "Well, get the pictures and let's go," he said, "I'm meeting somebody in town in about a half-hour."

"Another chick?" Nathan asked, turning toward the car.

"You know it," said Luke in his cockiest tone.

Nathan smirked. There was always a girl. It seemed that Luke couldn't go two days without rolling around in bed with a stranger in their apartment. Apart from the noise at night, Nathan didn't have much of a problem with it. Sure, he wondered sometimes how a simple guy like Luke managed to attract so many girls, but he was happy where he was. If Luke wanted to spend the rest of his college career in the bedroom, that was his prerogative.

As long as he kept boundaries.

"Boundaries," Nathan muttered to himself as he opened the trunk. His eyes lit up as they saw his tripod, right where he left it. He lifted it out and started toward the edge of the cliff again, neglecting the single lens reflex camera that sat in the passenger seat of Luke's Mustang.

Keeping boundaries was just one of the many things that Luke could never understand. Nathan couldn't count how many times he'd told him not to drink from his milk carton, or wear his clothes, or have sex wherever he felt, and Luke had simply shrugged and told him to lighten up. What Luke couldn't seem to grasp was that Nathan preferred a world with boundaries; he insisted on them. They were a way of keeping his own space, his individuality; they kept the things he loved dear to him, and to him only.

Nathan stopped about three feet behind Luke, thankful that the sun was ahead of them as he raised the tripod above his head.

"You should've never slept with her."

The grin on Luke's face vanished as he turned around. "What are you doing?" he asked, taking a step back.

"Setting my boundaries," said Nathan.

His grip on the tripod tightened as his muscles flexed, and the glistening metal structure swung around and slammed into Luke's head. He caught that final look in Luke's eyes. If there was any heart left in him he would feel sorry for what he had just done. Luke's eyes had become frozen in a plea for mercy, a humble display of remorse, as his body slumped and fell over, rolling and tumbling down the cliff until it came to rest at the very bottom.

"I like my boundaries," said Nathan.