Hello, everyone! Sorry for the lack of Elizabeth last week and this week; finals are coming up on me quickly! This is a piece I wrote last semester, for an assignment practicing dialogue. Hopefully, next week we will be back to our regularly scheduled adventures! Also, I want to give a bit of a suicide trigger warning, but *spoilers* it ends happy.
“What’re you doing?” It’s not a question. He knows it’s not a question; I know it’s not a question. I don’t know why I said it like one.
The man says something, but he’s not facing me and I can’t hear it because the wind is blowing too hard forward. The building must make some sort of wind current, with the curved statues which stand tall on either side behind us.
“What’s your name?” This time it’s a question, and I shout to make sure he hears me.
His brown suede shoes pivot on the ledge he’s standing on, and he faces me, his suit and tie whipping out behind him.
“…Browning. Peter Browning.” He says, struggling to talk over the wind in his face.
“Right,” I say, “well, mine’s Julianne Lane.”
“Julianne Lane.” Peter smiles. “Sounds like a lovely suburb.”
I laugh. “It does, doesn’t it?”
We stand there for a minute in silence. I don’t know what to do. What do people say to people who are literally about to jump? What can they say? Have we talked about it in school? My brain tries to wrap the jumble of images and words scattered about in it into words.
Peter swallows and looks anywhere but at me. “I knew that was coming. That is why. No one understands. No one thinks I make sense. No one…” He trails off, fidgeting with his tie which looks too tight.
“Do you want me to…” I step forward, offering to help, but he flinches backward which about gives me a heart attack. But he doesn’t fall. Yet.
“Look, I don’t know you…” Suddenly, we hear a crash as a door opens behind me, and we both jump a little. A portly man with a greasy mustache bursts onto the roof in a police uniform, and I can only imagine the sight of me in my backpack with hair all over and Peter on the ledge in his business suit. Speaking of Peter, he gives a sort of sigh…frustration, maybe?
The policeman completely ignores me, focusing on Peter. “Hey, hey, hey. What are you doing?”
It’s that not-question question again. I turn back to Peter and see his distressed face
“Go away, man,” he says to the policeman, “just let me do this.”
“Listen,” I start, “Peter, it can be horrible when people don’t understand you. It’s a knot, in your stomach, that just grows, and you’re sad and you don’t know why, and you just want to blink out of existence.”
The policeman, finally realizing I had been getting somewhere, steps up next to me, and we share a nod.
“Peter,” he says, and now that he’s next to me I can tell he’s just as nervous as I am, “it takes a toll, that feeling she’s talking about. But look at me.”
The policeman gestures at his body and then holds up his hand, which has a ring. “I am living proof that all it takes is finding that person who understands you. And I found him.”
I smile and turn back to Peter. “I don’t want to sound mean, Peter, but think of what you’ll miss out on! The books you won’t read. The movies you won’t see. This world we live in is…is like that one really hard test you’re taking that ends up being your best grade in the class. When you look back, you do pretty good. But if you bow out now, you’re definitely going to get a zero.”
The policeman smiles at me, and I can’t believe this is what my walk to the high school became. Peter looks long and hard at the two of us, and we hold our breath. Finally, his fancy shoes land onto the roof from the ledge.
“Okay,” is all he says.
Again, sorry it’s so short, but please leave a like or a comment and share with your friends!
Featured Image found at: https://www.pexels.com/photo/buildings-skyline-skyscrapers-sky-26325/