Tom snapped out of his daze. He stared at the blonde in front of him. Her name was Marie. She was at this moment breaking up with him. Thus the reason Tom had zoned out. Tom did this when things didn't go his way. He would retreat into a safe place deep in his mind. A mind fortress of solitude.
Marie stared at Tom, to make sure she had his attention.
"We're done. You hear me. It's over."
Tom just stared, he wasn't sure how to react. He was devastated, but he didn't want to show it.
He cleared his throat. "Hrm, I think we should break up".
Marie scuffed. "I already dumped you. You can't just decide you're done with me all of a sudden."
Tom scratched his upper lip. "Well I uh just did." He told her nonchanlantly.
Marie rolled her eyes. "This is why I'm leaving you. You're so childish."
With that Marie rose from her seat. She was about to storm out of the cozy diner when she turned to Tom.
For Tom, he got excited, maybe she was reconsidering.
"Don't call me. Don't text me. Don't look for me."
And with that Marie stormed off.
Tom sat there, playing with his food. Eggs. He hadn't even taken a bite, but he just let his fork fondle them. And then the tears began to fall. And Tom began weeping. It wasn't pretty. It was unsettling.
Everyone in the diner turned to stare.
A waitress came by. "Um sir. I um, if you could um, keep it down."
Tom could see the waitress. She was cute. About his age. She was a brunette, which didn't make him think of Marie.
With snot pouring from his nose, tears rolling down his cheeks, he grabbed the waitress' hand.
"Do you want to go out with me?"
The waitress recoiled, pulling her hand sharply away. "Um sir, please just keep it down."
With that, the waitress turned and walked away, whispering under her breath profanities.
Tom's head sank down into his arms. He then lifted his head. "Fine! Leave me just like that cold bitch! We're done! You were just like her."
Tom flopped his head back down.
He felt a tap on his shoulder.
"Wha?! Decided you changed your mind? Good, me to! I didn't mean what I said about you being like Marie."
Tom quickly straightened up. It was a man he was talking to, not the waitress. This man was well dressed. He looked like the manager. It was this guy that tapped on Tom's shoulder.
"Can I help you buddy?"
The man was stern. "Sir, I'm going to have to ask you to leave."
Tom couldn't take it. "Now the diner is dumping me too! What is this world coming to!"
The man lifted Tom by the arm. "Thank you for your patronage, maybe not come back for a while."
With that he lead him towards the door. All the while, Tom just continued to bawl.
Outside of the restaurant, Tom tried to suck up his snot and stop the tears from falling. It was to no avail.
He began walking towards his appartment, just a little ways up the street. He couldn't help but think of all the late nights he and Marie made this walk, hand in hand, smiling and laughing. And now, it all just seemed like a terrible lie. A dream. An illusion. She was gone. So was his happiness.
Tom got home, still wearing his spring jacket, and just walked through his tiny appartment, and flopped down on his messy double bed.
He laid there for a while, head face down in the pillow, as if suffocating himself. And then he continued to bawl.
He could feel a cold tickle on the back of his neck. It was his cat, Smokey. All gray short-haired tabby. He and Marie had found it one day in the back alley. It was her idea to take it in. Tom loved this cat. And it clearly loved him.
Tom lifted himself up, grabbed the cat and held it close. He began petting it affectionately. "Aww, thanks Smokey. You won't leave me..." Tears pelted the cat, it stared up at his master. "Sorry buddy. Must be a leak in here. I'll fix it."
Tom moved the cat, and traveled to the bathroom. He grabbed some kleenex and began dabbing away the tears.
He stared at himself in the mirror. His eyes were bloodshot, the skin beneath them was reddened. He looked miserable.
In the corner of his eye he spotted something orange. It was bright neon orange, hard to miss. It was Marie's toothbrush.
Tom grabbed it, held it delicately in his hand. He tried to fight back the tears. "Damn it."
Tom dropped the toothbrush in the sink, exited the bathroom and went to the fridge.
Inside he found what he desired. Beer. Lots of beer.
He cracked one open, plopped himself down on his bed and turned on the TV.
Smokey came by and rubbed his head against Tom. Tom, not removing his gaze from the TV began to pet Smokey. With his other hand, he raised the beer to his lips.
It was bitter, but it made him feel better. He just chugged it, not taking a breath.
Once empty, he tossed it on the floor accross his room.
He got up, went to the fridge and got another beer.He returned to his bed, in the exact same spot. Smokey sat there, awaiting his return.
Tom changed the channel, it was the news. Breaking news.
Tom stared at the screen. There was a story about a girl who was on the bridge, she was going to jump. Tom stared at the image on the TV, then turned his head to stare out his window. He could see the bridge from his appartment. He could see the girl standing on the edge.
Tom turned to the TV again. He let it all sink in. Just then Smokey stared at him and let out a cry.
Tom understood what Smokey was telling him. He had to do something. He didn't know what, but it beat sitting around feeling sorry for himself.
Tom guzed down the second beer, tossed aside the empty bottle and rushed out the door.
He ran and ran, almost getting hit by a taxi, but not stopping. He wouldn't allow himself to stop. No matter how much he hurt, he wanted to do something for someone, to make him forget about his own pain.
Tom got to the bridge. It was crowded. People were crowding around, watching. Gossiping. Judging. Tom got annoyed by this.
He ran through the crowd and came accross a line of police tape.
Tom turned to two people talking. "What's going on?"
They stared at him. "Um, girl is trying to commit suicide."
Tom was waiting for more to the story. The two people exchanged looks. "That's all we know." They rolled their eyes and went back to their discussion.
Tom grabbed the first cop he could find. "Hey, excuse me. What's happening here?"
The cop grabbed his hat, and readjusted it on his head. "Poor girl, got dumped. I guess she thought jumping was the solution. I don't know what else to tell you."
Tom looked to the girl. It wasn't right. He had to do something. He had to tell her what she was about to do was wrong.
Tom pushed past the police tape.
The cop who Tom had just talked to whipped around. "Hey! Get back here!"
Tom pushed past everyone and jumped up over the guard rail of the bridge. He stood there beside the girl, taking deep breaths, realizing just how crazy this was.
The girl, shocked, moved an inch away from her new neighbour. Tom could see she had been crying. Her eyes looked like his.
"Um... what do you want? You're not going to try to convince me not to do it too are you?"
Tom grabbed the railing behind him, he looked down again and took a deep gulp. He tried not to look bothered by the height. Thing is, Tom hated heights.
"Look... I know you are hurting... I know you feel hopeless and alone right now. But this... this isn't the solution."
The girl seemed offended. "What do you know about me?!"
Tom looked to her. He stared at her intensely. "You should be able to see that I am feeling the exact same way you are. I was just dumped, like not even an hour ago. It sucks. I know. To feel the way you did with someone, to be so happy, and then the next moment to feel like there's nothing left living for. I get it."
The girl stared at him. She then averted her gaze, focusing at the water below.
"Please. Don't do this. Don't dwell on what you had. Think back to who you are. Who you were before that person hurt you. You're existence isn't defined by that person. You shouldn't think its the end of the world. In fact, its a new beginning. A new chance for you to find yourself, to become stronger and to find someone better. Someone who appreciates you and will love you, more than you could imagine."
The girl just continued to stare at the water. "But I loved him. I gave it all for him. We had everything planned."
Tom relaxed. He could tell he was getting to her. "I know. But that's the thing with love. It finds away to come back into our lives, even when we think we gave it all away. Like Karma. It returns the favour. You loved him a lot, and it ended. So now all that love that is out there will come back to you. Its just a matter of looking deep down and finding it again."
The girl turned to Tom. She was crying. But they weren't tears of pain. They were tears of realization.
Tom smiled. "I forgot... I don't drink."
The girl wiped her tears. She chuckled. "What?"
Tom suddenly felt very woozy. Those beers weren't his. They were Marie's. And now, after chugging two, and running like a mad man, the alcohol was hitting him. And it was hitting him hard.
The girl could only watch, as Tom lost his balance and plummeted into the icy cold water below.
Everyone screamed. The police tried to run up and catch him, but it was too late. He was gone.
Tom tried to focus. "Am... Am I dead?"
He slowly opened his eyes and saw a face staring back at him. It was a girl, with dark hair. And the way the light glowed around her head made him think she was an angel. "Are you my angel, come to escort me to... well. I don't really believe in heaven or hell. So to wherever?"
The girl laughed. Tom recognized the laugh. It was cute. Like the one of the girl on the bridge.
Tom quickly snapped out of his daze. "The girl! The girl on the bridge! Is she ok?"
The girl smiled. "Of course I am. How else would I be able to talk to you?"
Tom could see clearly now. It was her, the girl from the bridge. He looked around, trying to make sure they both weren't dead. He saw he was in a hospital. And he was dressed in their backless robes. He was hooked up to a machine, had an ivy running in his arm and could see his other arm was in a cast.
"Uh. What happened?"
The girl smiled. "You saved my life." Her smile was beautiful Tom thought.
"And then you fell. You're lucky to be alive. Karma returned the favour." She reached out and grabbed his hand.
Tom felt himself go beat red. He forced a smile. "Guess so."
Tom fidgeted a bit. "Um, I know we both kind of went through a traumatic experience, and just met through said traumatic experience, and well, we both just got our hearts broken, but if you would like... um, maybe we could go out for coffee sometime. Once I'm allowed out of here that is." He tried to force a smile. God, he must of sounded crazy.
The girl smiled. "That sounds lovely. I would very much like that."