It was cold. Maybe it was the icy breeze that was blowing, causing small snowflakes to fly into my face and get caught in my eyelashes, or maybe it was the feeling inside me that was spreading through my veins. My blood felt like ice, and the tears almost froze as they rolled down my cheeks. I looked down at the distant ground. From so high up the people underneath looked like ants, quickly scuttling around, desperate to get away from the harsh winter and into the comforting warmth of their homes.
Anger flashed in my mind, suddenly warming my cheeks. What gives these people the right to belong somewhere? What gives them the right to return home to people that love them? What did they have that I didn’t that entitled them to this?
I raised the almost empty vodka bottle in my right hand to my mouth, and took a long swig, wincing as I swallowed. Long ago I had discovered, along with many others, how alcohol could act as a magical solution to make your problems disappear. Well until you were sober again. Then they seemed to come flooding back with vengeance, but lately something had been going wrong. The problems didn’t seem to be disappearing as they used to, instead they seemed to stay swimming in my mind, and the alcohol just made them angrier. They’d burst from the depths of my mind, biting chunks from me as gravity pulled them down again. One by one they’d slowly rip me apart, and there was not a single thing I could do to stop it.
Somewhere inside me I’d always known the drink was only a temporary solution though, and although the fool inside me had prayed that it would be enough, the practical side to me knew there was only one way to end the sadness forever.
My left hand flew to my face and roughly wiped the tears from my eyes. I wouldn’t cry. That’s what I had promised myself, but so far it seemed I was failing. I tilted my head to the sky, my eyes looking straight up into the never ending blackness. There were no stars tonight. Only the dark clouds with the small, white shapes bursting from them.
My mind flashed back to a movie clip I’d seen once. My ‘friends’ and I had snuck out late one night to the local cinemas. After some begging and quite admirable quick thinking on a girl named Adel’s behalf, we were eventually admitted into the movie for free. We passed a theatre room that had the door pushed open, and I took a quick peek inside. Two girls were blown up large on the screen, hitting each other with pillows as white stuffing erupted from inside. Then they were gone, bland wall replacing them in my line of sight. I was young then, too young to understand why my life couldn’t be like theirs, but now I did.
“WHY!” I screamed into the night air to no one in particular. I heard murmuring from bellow. A glance downwards told me people had finally noticed the dark shadow, stood alone on top of the large building. I let a small smile pull up the corners of my lips. Sure, they’d notice now it’s too late wouldn’t they. That was human kind for you. Ignorant of things they could stop, then when they happened shifting the blame. I watched as a crowd formed beneath me, people calling to one another and pointing up at me.
I shuffled my feet forward slightly, so they were half on half off the edge, but it wasn’t time for me to go just yet. I still had one mouthful of my vodka left. I raised the bottle to my lips for the last time, this time savouring the taste instead of cringing. I had planned it this way, numbed until the very last. I sucked in my last breathe, and prepared myself. Closing my eyes I raised one foot.
“You don’t really want to do this you stupid wanker.” My eyes shot open. Had I really heard that? Placing my foot back on the ground, I exhaled.
“Oh yeah? And what if I really do?” I asked, questioning the voice, but I already knew it was right. I didn’t want to do this, and now I was stalling for time.
“Just step down and stop drawing attention to yourself,” it responded in answer to my question. I stepped down from the ledge of the building, but didn’t turn towards the speaker. Then, still without looking at the mystery stranger, I walked to the door that opened to reveal the stairway down and removed the barricades I had placed in preparation before. I guess it had been a case of wishful thinking, that I had deluded myself into thinking someone might actually care enough to race up the stairs to save me. I then descended the steps ditching the empty glass bottle half way down. It was only when I reached the bottom two thoughts struck me.
First was didn’t the stranger do exactly as I’d hoped? Wasn’t it the case that whoever it may be had climbed the stairs to stop me, before it was too late?
Second was that, if I’d barricaded the only door leading up to the roof, how did the stranger get up there? Then I decided I didn’t want to know. I had learnt from experience it was dangerous to let yourself hope, to let yourself believe and get carried away in something that just wasn’t there. Shivering I hurried down the back alley, away from the disappointed audience at the entrance, and further into the darkness. I reached the end, then disappeared into the immense quantity of people still sauntering the streets even this late into the night. I did not look up to the top of the building, but even if I had there would have been nothing to see. My knight in shining armour had left the building.
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