A Long Way Down

building photo for A Long Way Down.jpg

It’s really only terrifying until you let yourself tumble over the edge. One minute, there’s cold concrete under you, and you tip forward until suddenly there’s nothing but air. Up until that moment, it’s all fear and nerves, panic and nausea. But once your body is weightless, surrounded by wind and sky, it’s actually exhilarating. Like being in the ocean and feeling your body both moving in and moved by a force larger than you could hope to name.

I open my hands wide, feeling the air force its way between my fingers, and I wiggle each one in turn. I wish I had thought to take off my shoes and socks. I bet this would feel great on my toes.

I feel thankful for this sense of calm and joy that is washing over me. You hear stories of people who do something like this, or just try to do something like this, only to feel waves of regret. I’ve had enough years of regret already. My life is a book filled with page after page of bad decisions, things and people so lost to me that there’s no chance of return. This choice is the one that will finally set me free.

The atrium windows are open as I fall past the 28th floor, and I hear the phone ringing for a quick second before the sound is sucked away with the air above me. I know the receptionist will answer it in that same warm but hurried voice I’ve heard so many times.

Funny, in all these years, it never occurred to me to walk down and say hello. Would only have been fair, as many times as she said hello to me. Gloria? No. Gladys? I should know this. Why don’t I know this? Do I really take people for granted so easily? All this time, and I’ve just been one more asshole in a grey suit.

I look back up to those windows and send up a pitiful prayer that I survive the fall, just long enough to tell one last person that I appreciate her. That she matters.

This is an installment in a series of short stories, as I play with the wonderful world of fiction.
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