She placed the picture in front of me, flat on the table between us. “What do you see?” she said. It sounded comparable to a challenge.
I touched a fingertip to the picture, pulling it a notch closer. “Someone falling.”
She placed another picture over the first. “What do you see?”
“They’re falling to the left this time. It’s the same person.”
“How do you know?”
I looked at her.
She gestured to the picture. “It’s a nondescript drawing. How do you know it’s the same person?”
“The features are proportional to one another and the hat is exactly the same. It’s a logical deduction.”
She nodded, and then placed another picture on the stack. “What do you see?”
“They’re falling backwards now. Looks like someone hit them.”
“And what about this one?”
“They fell. Again. Of course. I get it. They fall a lot.” I started to stand. “Can we—”
“How do you know it’s not the same time?”
My back smacked against the chair, but I was too exasperated to wince. Much. “They could not’ve landed that way from any of the previous falls. It’s obvious. Wh–” I leaned forward, palm flattening on the cold wood. “What do you see?”
“I see someone who keeps getting back up.” She paused, looking at me. “As you said, they had to be from separate falls. How can you fall again if you didn’t get back up?”
“The last one…they’re on the ground. How do you know they got back up?”
“Why wouldn’t they?”
“Well, every time they fall must be a stronger reason to stay there.”
“No, no.” She emphasized with a slow but purposed shake of her head. “Every fall would be another reason to get back up. They can’t let it win now. They wouldn’t concede defeat when they’ve already come this far. That would be a slight to their previous attempts. No. ” She shook her head again. “They would not give up.”
I sat back, lips pursed.
She took a moment before speaking again, this time with a tone reminiscent of trying to cross a river barefoot on wet stones. “I…don’t think you should give up either.”
I sighed, rubbing my fingers over an eyebrow. “I knew you would try something like this.”
How many times one falls is not a sign of weakness — it is a testament to how many times one has risen.
What do you see?