Sitting On The Edge Of The World

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: True Confessions  |  House: Booksie Classic
One man awakes in his home to a surprise unlike any other.

Submitted: January 22, 2012

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Submitted: January 22, 2012

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Sitting On The Edge Of The World

 

I awoke with a start to the blaring of my alarm. Having the black curtain of sleep pulled from my eyes was enough to put me in a foul mood already. I rolled over, blinking the sleep from my eyes as I smacked the snooze button on my bedside table’s clock.  I smacked it again. The blaring of the horn wouldn’t stop, and I grew impatient for a moment before realizing that it wasn’t my clock that had woken me, it was a car alarm going off. I looked at my clock to check the time and realized that it wasn’t even on. The power must have gone out last night. The sun was flooding in through my windows, bathing my bed in light and egging me out of bed for the day. Hearing the car alarm still gnawing at my eardrums, I thought I might as well. I swung my legs over the side of the bed and walked towards my closet, feeling the nice cool hardwood floor against the soles of my bare feet. I got dressed and walked in to the kitchen, hoping that maybe a good breakfast would cheer me up a little bit. It was Saturday and I really had nothing to do, so maybe an omelet would be nice this morning. To my disdain, I realized as I walked past the stove that the clock there had also been turned off. I guess the power was still out. So much for that omelet. I let my hopes of a well-cooked meal pass and grabbed a pair of apples from the wooden bowl on the counter. I tossed one up in the air and caught it as I grabbed my jacket and walked out the door. As I descended the large echoing staircase of my apartment building, my thoughts of malnutrition being interrupted by the sounds of shouting coming from outside. I hoped Murray wasn’t having to fend off taggers again. Murray was the building janitor and he’d worked there since before I ever moved in. He was a nice guy with a kind heart, but he took his job way too seriously. I stopped at the foot of the stairs and walked over to the half door that led in to Murray’s small office, but didn’t find the man sitting at his desk like usual. The sounds of shouting drifted even louder through the large doors to the street outside and my curiosity began to get the best of me. I left one of the apples on the ledge of his door for him to get later and headed for the exit. When I stepped out on to the street, I froze, not knowing what to do or where to go. I dropped the fruit I was holding in my hand and the feel of it knocking against my shoe and rolling away in to the street was what snapped me out of my frozen state. The street I was looking at was in pure chaos.

 

I didn’t know where to look first, there was a tornado of activity unfolding around me and I was rudely thrown in to the middle of it without warning. People were running down the street at full tilt, hundreds of them trampling over each other and cars parked in the middle of the street. Stores were being looted and ransacked and there were small fires burning everywhere. Before I had a chance to think of what to do next, a flaming bottle crashed on the wall right next to me, and I ducked out of the way to shield myself from the blast. I began running down the street, battling against people going the other way and being shoved around like a rag doll. I got to the end of the street and ducked in to the first place I could find that got me off the street. What I saw inside brought me close to tears, but I fought them back. I was standing inside the burned out wreckage of my favorite coffee shop that had been looted and what looked like set fire to. There were overturned chairs strewn across the floor and tables in pieces against the walls. The walls and ceiling themselves had been burned beyond repair and the cash register was gone from the blackened counter. I suddenly heard a voice from back in the kitchen and slowly approached it. I didn’t know what I expected to find back there, but as I approached and turned the corner, I saw that it was just a small portable TV that worked on batteries. There was a news report on and the president seemed to be giving an address. I had never been one to watch a lot of news, but something about the tone of the man talking on the small screen drew me in and I listened to what he was saying. He seemed almost…scared. “At this point, it is with the heaviest of hearts that I have the duty to inform the American people, of…an imminent…termination…of life as we know it.” The man’s voice was drowned out by the pounding in my ears and I stumbled back against the tiled wall. I couldn’t think, did this mean it was the end? Was that what the riots in the streets were about? The realization dawned on me, and I sank to the floor with my head in my hands. I didn’t cry, I didn’t get angry; I just sat there for a few minutes letting it sink in that this would be my last day on earth.

 

I slowly got up and walked out to the front of the café again. I watched calmly as the, anarchy outside continued. I picked up a chair from the floor and brought it out to the front of the shop where the front façade remained standing but the windows had all been blown out. I turned a table upright, putting it inside the perimeter beside the chair and as close to the front windows of the café as I could, and sat down next to it. I rested my arm on the table and put my feet up on the low shelf of the façade where the window used to be, and watched the chaos before me. People were running and screaming, and I could see the fear in their eyes mirrored in their movements. I found that if I concentrated for long enough on one person, I would realize that they really weren’t running in any certain direction, just going along with the crowd like a lemming, hoping that one of them would be struck with the answer and lead the rest of the pack to safety. As I watched, I began to notice not much of a difference between today and any other day. Other than the burned out cars and the small fires dotted around the streets, the people moved around the city similar to the way they usually did. These were the streets of Manhattan, some of the busiest in the world. There was never an absence of a certain amount of chaos on these streets, and like any day of a daily morning commute, you had to be fast and stay on your feet to survive. It made me sad to think that we had been preparing for this kind of thing all our lives, just by living our normal existences every day, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense to me. I myself had made my fair share of mistakes, and now it seemed like it was all in preparation for this day. A middle-aged man ran past me in my chair with his son in his arms. I didn’t know where he was going, but I said a silent prayer for him right there outside the café. I thought back to my own father and thought about my childhood growing up.

 

I had been 18 when I moved out of the house for good. I had never had a good relationship with my dad, and it was one of those things that I thought back to while I was sitting in that chair. I remember the day I finally left home. I had been young and stupid, not knowing where I was going to go or what I was going to do. All I knew was that I wanted to be alone for the rest of my life. How young and stupid I was. I still remember the last words I said to my father. We had just had yet another one of our fights, and I’m sure the whole neighborhood was sitting at their front windows with a bowl of popcorn that night, because we could have easily been heard down the block. I had already packed my things and as I brought them down to the door, my mom begged me one last time to stay. I looked out at the yellow taxi waiting for me on the street and then back at my father, who I had spent 18 of what I thought to be miserable years with. He just stood there with his arms folded across his chest and a look of pure uncaring hatred on his face. As I walked out my front door for the last time, I turned to my father and attempted to put as much venom in my voice as I could possibly muster. “I hope you’re happy Michael.” I began, trying to insult him by using his first name. “You no longer have to see me as a disappointment. From this day on, I may as well be dead to you. Because you are definitely dead to me.” With that I turned on my heel and marched down the driveway to the waiting cab. The sound of my mother sobbing was drowned out by the sound of the engine as I approached. I got in that taxi and never looked back as I drove up the deserted rural road. That was the last time I ever saw my parents.

 

Sitting at that café, I realized that 5 years ago was going to be the last time I ever saw them. There was no time to find them, wherever they were living now, or call them either. I was going to die being mad at my family, and that was something I had to live with. It was funny how the mistakes of the past sort of caught up with you when you take a moment to slow down. I was just sorry that I had chosen this moment to do it. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. Still, there was one thing I regretted more than all other mistakes I had ever made, and I knew that my thoughts would take me there eventually. They always did at the worst times.

 

The flashback hit me in the same way as it always did. Like a ton of bricks. The cool summer breeze on the back of my neck, and the sounds of the trickling water underneath the bridge we always used to like to sit at. It was where we first met. Taylor was the girl of my dreams, in every sense of the word. We had met when we were just teenagers, complete strangers coming together by sheer coincidence. As we got older we had made more mistakes than I think either of us cared to count, but through all of them we had grown closer. I still remember though, the night I made the biggest mistake of all. It was a clear summer night, and the gleaming stars reflected off the shimmering water below us. Her blond hair flowed gently in the light wind and her eyes were bright in the mirror of the water. Her usual smile though, had disappeared. I’ll always remember that night, when she told me that she couldn’t go on. She said she just couldn’t continue the way we were, and it made me want to throw myself over the rail and in to the icy water below. There weren’t many words said that night, but the moment that I’ll never forget is the vision of her walking out my life, and I knew I had to take that moment and take her back. Run after her, hold her in my arms and never let go. But I didn’t. I stayed standing on that bridge and I watched her walk out of my life forever.

 

What kind of person does that? I hated myself for that decision since the day it happened, and I never forgot about it. Now it was too late. Too late to go back, too late to change the mistakes I had made in my life. I had to though, this couldn’t be the end. I had to have some time left. There was no way I was going to be allowed to leave this world without fixing all of these mistakes, without making right on them, without being able to go in to the light with a happy heart and a clean conscience. This couldn’t be the end. No, I refused to believe it. I knew that I couldn’t waste one moment longer, I had to seize every moment of my life and do what I was made to do. I had to find her. I got up from my chair and took a step out on to the road. As my foot touched down on the pavement, a huge flash of light lit up the sky. I was blinded for a moment before I felt a rush of wind and everything went black.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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