Just in Time for Dinner

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

Just a short story I wrote. Feedback?

He stood on the ledge of the city, on the only barrier between him and the place he called home. The place he still calls home. Above him clouds drifted slowly across the navy sky and the stars twinkled. But they weren’t stars, they were airplanes. Or maybe they were stars. No one could distinguish them anymore anyways. He picked one star at random and closed his eyes. That was when he realized he couldn’t even remember anymore, remember the rhyme used to wish on a star. His childhood, the rhyme included, was blurred in his mind from the years that passed. Or maybe from the tears that were rolling from his eyes. It was just confirmation, in his mind. He couldn’t remember how to hope or how to dream so why should he remember how to wish on a star? Casting one more forlorn glance at the maybe-star, he turned his eyes to the city. 
Did people who committed suicide go to hell? He wondered, as he glanced down at the city below him, a hellish glow emanating from every building. There were people who should go to hell, but he wasn’t one of them. He did well to people. He broke the rules rarely and always went to confession. He had since he was a little boy. Confession was one of the few things his memory had been able to hang on to.
Cars whipped past him on the corner of his heightened ledge. Everyone of them having somewhere to be and something to do. They never slept. Neither did he. He wondered if they ever longed for rest like he did. Just one big never ending nap to replace his existence. It scared him, a little. He had been raised to believe in a Heaven, an Eternal Kingdom, but, in a world like his own, no one could blame him for doubting, a little. Because if there was nothing, nothing at all after death... Well there would be nothing. A big nothing. He wouldn’t exist anymore. Sometimes he would try to decide about what was worse, his life or none at all, but he would always have to think about it, which scared him more than anything. Below him an acapella of police sirens roared on. No one slept.
Over the last few weeks he had found himself on the ledge more and more frequently. Every day was a step closer to the edge. But it had been his favourite spot for as long as he could remember. His memory could distantly and foggily bring fourth images of him and his parents driving to the spot and talking. About sports, about dinner, about his future. Just talking. He liked to think the world was perfect then, but he knew it wasn’t. Nor would it ever be. He had just been blind to anything besides himself. Now he was all too aware. More than anything though, he loved standing up on that ledge and feeling the breeze blow under his outstretched arms. For a few seconds he was that oblivious child once more, invincible, impenetrable and impossible to stop. He could do anything he wanted, be anyone he wanted and save the world. Then a siren or a chopper or a flashing neon sign would force his eyes open and he would become that broken, empty man he was. That’s when he would take that step.
Not for the first time, he wished he was brave, like his brothers. He didn’t need to run into a burning building or stop a bad guy, he just needed to take one more step. Then another, and then another. But he couldn’t. Suddenly his digital watched bleeped, a high-pitched squeal not uncommon to the city in which he lived. He stood for a second, eyes lingering on the incredible drop, now only a single step from where he stood. Then he got off the ledge like he knew he would and got in his car. He drove down the deserted streets remembering the conversations on the edge with gradual clarity. He pulled the car to a stop in front of a large, suburban home. There were no police sirens in this area. Only the sounds of crickets and peaceful family reunions coming to a close. None of it was real.
He pulled the car to a stop, grabbed the empty briefcase from the passenger’s seat. He reached a sweaty hand into his shirt pocket and pulled out the letter. Ripping it into pieces he threw it into the ashtray, overflowing with shreds of paper. He went inside.
Inside he greeted his family. He was just in time for dinner.


Submitted: November 05, 2010

© Copyright 2021 anonymousinthefirstdegree . All rights reserved.

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