My heart should be pounding out of my chest, my knees should be shaking, my mind should be racing, but I feel kind of … peaceful … up here. Pigeons flutter out into the wind between these giants of steel, concrete, and glass. My feet inch closer to the edge. The wind should be up enough for kite flying in the park … that shouldn’t matter to me now … I’ll be falling soon.
I stand on the small granite lip before a two-hundred story plunge atop the tallest building I could find without fences or locked doors blocking off the roof. The cars below look like the small toys I once had, the people like specks of paint moving across a gray canvas of sidewalk. I can feel the wind doing what I want it to … pulling me closer toward the edge. My fingers are wrapped around a metal pipe just below the short granite wall running the parameter of the rooftop. With each slow second that passes I can feel my grip loosening.
Voices, probably police, are behind me but I can’t hear them. I can’t hear anything but the rushing of wind between the skyscrapers and the birds cooing and flapping their wings at both sides of my feet. The time, I hadn’t noticed before, the time up here is slowed. Like time itself is attempting to run underwater, to swim upstream. Every second an hour, every hour a day. I could have been on this ledge for a year, or a decade, by now. I could stay another decade or two for all the wondrous peace I’ve found.
Like the crack of a whip my reasons return. Not a soul in the god-forsaken city cares about me more than they care about a stray cat, or these filthy birds at my feet. I have no one close, not the way I want … not the way I need. Sure I have a mom and a dad and all that; it doesn’t matter now though. Everybody tells you you’re doing good if you got that but I think everybody has something more, something they hide from me, and they say all that crap to make people like me feel better. What good is someone if you can’t really talk to them? What good is life if you get nothing from it? … The quiet up here is really, peaceful. Not even the birds can make a sound anymore, every single sound muted except for the wind howling, and pulling.
Some are sure to say I was living in my fantasy of not having what I needed of this world. Some are sure to say I’m selfish and blind what the world holds for me. Some people are worth even less than I. There isn’t anyone in this life who wants to hear the infinite melancholies and ever-resilient droning; but I spared as much for the worst of them. There isn’t anyone not bound to love who did so for very long. They could say they love me when I’m gone but do they? People who love one another – even a little in the only way that matters – give all they have, every effort, every pain, every single word, to see those they love be complete and at peace in even the smallest way. She wouldn’t do that for me and I’ve done it for everyone I could ever have hoped to … everyone … so drained of anything that was ever whole.
These reasons mean nothing, I mean nothing, this day is nothing, this instant is nothing. The process of birth to death is nothing, nothing. I let some tension out of my fingers and lean out to look over the edge … only the tips of each of my fingers remain clutching that cold metal pipe. I can see each ray of sunlight bounce off the windows below, I can feel each singular beat of wings against the air as every bird takes flight at once – enveloping me in feathers, a bed of feathers – as a the pure taste of cold wind forces it’s way into my mouth. I spread my arms into the sky as a forceful gust pushes my chest and face back from the edge and then let my weight pull me over.
If these words were writ in snow, the sun would melt them in a glance.
If these words were writ in a riverbank, the water would rise to wash them as the earth churned.
If these words were cast to the sky, the air would smolder then burn.
If these words were carved to stone, the land would swallow itself whole.
If these words were made to flesh, a soul would cross the divide as the first breath came to be.
These words cast unto me. Forever shall be the same, forever within me.