It took only moments at the top of the famous cathedral of Florence for my fears to undo me. After ascending 463 narrow stone steps, I emerged with a panoramic view across the city. The steep red dome curved away below me, and as I glanced down, all I could think was how it would feel to tumble over the flimsy metal railing, to slide down over those red tiles toward the edge. I could picture it, feel it—my speed accelerating as I slid, my complete inability to stop what was coming.

I pushed away from the railing and through…

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