Until Rainfall9 mins 82 9 mins 82
I could only hear my strained breathing as I pull my almost limp legs to run up a few more steps until I would reach the rooftop of this twenty-four-floor building. A few more steps. I pushed the heavy door open and I felt the cold wind hit my bare face. I shivered. I pulled my coat closer to my body and started looking for her. Where is she? I thought. I was still trying to catch my breath. I saw her on the other side. I was on the other side. I came right away when I saw her sitting on the edge with her legs dangling, almost falling off, almost leaping, but then I screamed at her. She heard me. Good thing she heard me. I ran as fast as I could, hoping that she waited for me. I told her to wait for me.
There she was, still in the same position. And if we weren't on top of a building, I would say that she looked like she was just dipping her legs playfully on a lake.
"Hey!" I called to her. She turned and smiled at me. She smiled at me.
"What are you doing here?" I tried to make my voice as stable as I could, to pretend that I wasn't frightened of the sight I was witnessing.
"I'm going to jump." She said apathetically. It sounded almost the same as if someone is telling you that they're going to the mall or something.
I felt my heart fell when she said it. My mind started to go blank. Should I call the police? Should I pull her off the edge? What if she fights back and...and...
"Why?" Was the only word I could muster.
"What do you mean 'why'? Because I want to, of course."
"I mean, surely, there's some reason," I said carefully. I took a few steps closer to her until I was just an arm-length away.
"Not everything needs a reason. I want to jump because I want to jump, isn't that enough of a reason? Should there be something more complicated and sad and depressing about it?" She looked at me.
I was confused. There was no panic in her eyes. No sadness. No fear. It looked like she was at peace.
"Let me turn the table around. Why are you here?" She said. Her voice was calm and every time she spoke, it was as if she was the one comforting me.
"I...I...you were about to jump."
"Yes. But you don't know me."
It was true. I didn't know her. I just saw her from the other side.
"I thought that I should save you."
"Save me from what?"
"But that's what I want. That's why I'm here."
I let her words sink in. I tried to understand what she was trying to say but I just couldn't. Why would anyone want to kill themselves?
"Why do you want to die?" I thought I just needed to buy more time to figure out how I could convince her to come down with me. She was responsive, might as well use that to my advantage. I mean, for 'her' advantage.
"I told you already."
"Because you want to."
"Don't you feel scared?"
"I don't know. I just feel that way."
The wind was getting stronger. I wondered if she was cold like I was. She was wearing thin clothes. She didn't even have a jacket on. My fear increased when the thought of her being blown off the edge came to my mind. I pushed the thought away.
"Don't you have a family or a friend we can call?"
She shook her head slowly.
"They're all on the other side."
"The other side?"
"My parents are dead. Just three years apart. My twin sister died when we were young. We were so young then I didn't even know what was happening. I have no friends. Most people I meet end up not liking me."
"Most people. Meaning there should be a few who like you?" I felt kind of stupid for asking such a question. Was I that desperate?
She smiled. "No."
"I can be your friend," I said. "Why don't you climb back down and let's...let's just talk for a while." My voice shook a little but I managed.
"You can't change my mind, you know. I've been planning this for a week. I chose this day because of the heavy rain coming. Can you smell the rain already?" She closed her eyes and slowly inhaled.
"I'm not...trying to change your mind...I...I just want to hear your story. I'm interested. I want to get to know you." I finally gathered the courage to stand near the edge so that I could see her face closer. But she was still above me so all I could see was her chin, neck, and her nose.
"Why would you want that?" She laughed.
"Because...because I want to." I looked at her meaningfully, hoping she would get the joke in my answer. She laughed again.
"You have until rainfall."
The clouds weren't that dark yet. I should have enough time.
"I have a sister too." I started. "What was yours like?" Another stupid question. She said they were too young when her sister died. She could have forgotten much of it, right?
"We were so little, then. I only remember a few things. We did everything together. We wore the same clothes. We liked the same things. Most kids would have fought over toys but we shared it with each other. I remember that I was the clingy one. I would follow her everywhere. The only time I didn't was when she ran after an ice cream truck. I was playing in the front yard and then I saw her running...and then...I called her. I called her. I told her to come back. That our parents would get mad if she went too far away..."
She paused and took a deep breath. Her voice started to lose it's previously optimistic tone. And then in an instant, she forced a smile on her lips. Her voice sounded light again.
"And then, that's when the accident happened. How about you?
"Oh, my sister? Well, uhm. She's stubborn. Like all other sisters, most probably."
"Like mine was." She said matter-of-factly.
I chuckled a bit uncomfortably.
"She's a great artist, though. She paints. She even has a lot of exhibits already. We don't live together anymore but I visit her from time to time. I do the mom duties since we don't have parents anymore, as well. I cook her food sometimes. I put sticky notes all over her house to remind her about stuff. She's easily distracted and easily forgets things. They tell me that artists are like that. So I try to understand her and be there for her as much as I can, especially now that I think she's going through something. I think she's having an artist's block or something."
"Don't you get tired of it?"
"Of taking care of other people and having no one to take care of you?"
The question caught me off guard. I didn't know what to say.
"Don't you want your sister to do the same thing for you?" She continued.
"I can't expect others to do the same things I do for them. We're all different, aren't we?"
"Yes, but I'm sure you'd want someone to be there for you as well, don't you?"
"I get your point." I said. "So, are you like that? Are you tired?"
She held a tight smile as if she was holding the words from coming out of her mouth.
"Sort of." She nodded.
"Tired of what?"
"That's a lot to get tired of."
"So you think...ending...everything will make you not tired of it anymore?"
"Yes, because I'll be dead then."
"What if you get tired of death too, would you want to come back to life?"
"That's absurd. Why would I get tired of death when I'd be dead. I wouldn't feel anything anymore."
"How sure are you? Have you been dead before?"
"Then you wouldn't know for sure, right?"
She didn't answer me. There was only silence.
"Before I got here..." I started, "I didn't know that I'd end up here, talking to a woman who wants to jump off a building. This is the most interesting thing that happened to me this year so far. It's not even good interesting. In the previous weeks, I've been working non-stop because my restaurant business is not as profitable as it should be if I want to run it for a long time. Apparently people get easily tired and quickly change their tastes depending on what's trending. I knew that of course, but I didn't know how swiftly it could happen." I checked on her. She was looking at me. She was still listening.
"I was about to give it up. I was on the verge of abandoning the ship I've been sailing with the people I've grown to care for as we worked hard for this restaurant. I was starting to feel tired of it all."
The wind blew stronger and dark clouds started to loom over the city.
"And then today happened. This happened. Never have I thought that I would have this much desperation in me to convince someone not to kill herself. You know what I realized?"
I waited for her to look at me.
"I realized that I couldn't just give up on something just because it's not going well for me or just because I'm tired of it already. I should at least try first. Do my best. And if it's really for me, then I'd witness the day when everything would eventually go well and stable. Life is like that, you know, you get to try and try and try again until you figure out what's for you and not for you. It gets tiring at some point but it doesn't mean you should end it all. Ending your life is taking away the chances you have to have the life you want, or at least the good life you deserve and you are satisfied with."
I jumped a little when the thunder roared. Her eyes were still on me. I couldn't figure out what she was thinking. I was scared that she was going to jump because I may have sounded too preachy and she got annoyed. Rainfall was coming.
"Hey," I said carefully, "Whatever it is or whoever it is you're tired of, I hope you change your mind. I really hope you do."
The rain started to fall.
"It's time for you to wake up. WAKE UP!"
I jumped out of my bed when my alarm clock went off. I pushed the button and pressed my palms on my face. My face was wet. I wondered if it was tears or sweat and it turned out that it was both. I wondered what my dream was.
I went to the kitchen.
Don't forget to eat breakfast.
I smiled at the sticky note on my refrigerator Gabby left weeks ago.
I miss you, Gabby.
After breakfast, I went to my studio, just a little room beside my bedroom. I finally realized how messy it was. Papers on the floor with my unfinished sketches. Paint and pastel stains. Weeks of unfinished and uninspired work all over the place. I sighed and started picking up the papers. As I was organizing the sketches, a bright-colored sticky note caught my attention. I pulled it out. It said, Wake up! It's another wonderful day to be alive. -Gabby.
I felt my stomach turned into knots, my face felt hot, and tears started to cloud my eyesight. I walked towards the glass window and realized that it had been raining outside. Tears fell on my cheeks and I smiled.
"You're right, Gabby. It's a wonderful day to be alive.