His feet were numb when he had been climbing the stairs, but now, he felt every fiber of muscle in them.
He was standing on the low wall that formed the edge of the terrace of a sixteen-floored building, contemplating how good an idea death would be. His brain had felt sluggish before (strained, no doubt, by the burden of heady emotion that he carried and not the inebriants he had consumed in liberal quantities to, ah, lighten his load) but now he was as clear as the proverbial bell, capable equally of quoting Shakespeare or theorizing about multiple exponentiation (if that is a thing). So he thought of nothing.
He shifted his weight from the balls of his feet to his toes, ever so slowly leaning forward, as if easing himself into the plunge… and pulled back. The fourth time. Each time he tried, something kept holding him back. He couldn’t quite put his finger on what, but something did.
No. He knew he would feel pain for some seconds only, and he’d probably not be aware of those seconds either.
A few seconds can be pretty long for mortal agony.
Okay, maybe some fear. But that wasn’t all.
Family? Friends? A loved one?
His parents would be sad. His friends, well, they’d probably dedicate one drinking session to him. Loved one? Bah.
He didn’t know. Fact remained, it wasn’t easy to jump.
If he did, he’d leave a hole in the world no one else could fill quite right. Sure, somebody could jump into the hole if he/she/it so pleased, but they’d not fit. Not perfectly. Think plugging a pyramidal cavity with a cube. Except instead of 4 surfaces, you have 17,912.
Now that would matter if someone cared about what’s in the hole right now, or the hole itself, or at least the general area of where the hole was. And perhaps no one else did, but he cared. The fabric of the world would not be the same without him, and that mattered to him. For better or for worse, it would change, and that mattered to him.
But the fall appealed to him too. A choice, momentary flight, and then to cast off all his woes and worries, to never have to think, to feel, to regret, to hurt. The comfort of blissful unawareness, of absence (of thought, action and consequence), of sleep, it called to him. It’d be like pulling your blanket and quilt completely over your head on a cold, lonely winter night.
What was he living for?
For people? His parents were old, but strong, and they had another child to keep them company. Friends come and friends go.
It would perhaps matter if he would do something that’d affect the world in some significant way. Some significant, good way.
What effect would he cause? Sure, with his big bursting brain and his smart mouth, he could make a lot of money, but who was that going to help? Would his money make him happy? Would his money make others happy? Would his money bring people do his deathbed, people to mourn him when he passed? Given his monumental selfishness, probably not.
And with that, he prepared to test his toes one more time.
His phone trilled.
You’re about to kill yourself, does a text really matter?
It could be her.
And before his brain could complete the above thought, his phone was in his hand, checking the text.
It was her.
L: I can’t sleep.
I haven’t eaten anything all day, and I feel sick. I didn’t get anything done. I’m horrible.
H: Please eat something. I promise you, you’ll feel much better.
L: I’m too tired. I don’t want to move. Cooking right now is impossible.
H: I’m telling you, please eat something. You can’t go on like this.
L: Uff. Don’t talk to me. You’re making me feel worse.
H: Wait, wait. Sorry, no advice. Please don’t go.
L: Don’t make a fuss. I’m going to sleep. Bye.
He smiles wryly at this point.
H: I thought you couldn’t sleep.
Sorry! I am being an ass. I shall stop being an ass right this instant.
L: I tried to read the papers Alphonso suggested. Read the introduction and the conclusion, then watched random shit for 8 hours.
H: I smoked 8 cigarettes today.
L: That’s horrible.
… and he sat down on the low wall that formed the edge of the terrace of the sixteen-floored building, trying to draw her into conversation, make her feel better as he didn’t know how.
It’d be two days or so before he realized that she probably saved his life.