The rocks sit below me, gray and gleaming, their sharp edges shining from the wash of the vicious sea. Some of them have one harsh point, while others have a thousand little spikes, daggers that could tear flesh apart, should someone fall onto them…or jump.
It’s quiet. Too quiet. All that can be heard is the ocean, throwing itself over the sand, not quite reaching the boulders, not yet; and the wind, whistling so violently in my ears. It blows harshly, whipping itself against my skin, constantly reminding me that this is real, that I am really stood here – without you.
Would anyone see a body hurtling towards those rocks? Would anyone yell in protest? Would anyone help at all?
I am a step or two away from the edge. It could be so simple. The memories, the good and bad, could be over in seconds. I could lay there, dull and lifeless, my body outstretched on the boulders, until someone found me.
Suicide. It’s not a topic I ever gave much thought to. It’s not something I thought anyone could possibly resort to.
I’m so close; I can almost feel the boulders underneath me, crushing my bones so effortlessly, like a little child standing on twigs in the garden.
Would we have had children? I often entertained the idea of having a family with you. We would have been such a sweet, happy family unit, had you been willing to try it out. Who would they have looked like? Hopefully they would have looked like you.
You were the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen on this earth. You didn’t even have to try, it just came natural to you. Your black, shining hair was fixed in thick, tight, neat, little curls, soft to the touch. I loved running my fingers through them. You had neatly trimmed sideburns, not too long, elegantly framing your ears.
You were lightly tanned, a tone which would pale in the winter and darken in the summer. I remember us sitting in the garden, stretched out lazily, you showing off your slim, muscular body as you ripped off your shirt. You would never ever burn, while I would turn a dark shade of pink all over.
Your eyebrows were dark and thick, but carefully shaped; there wasn’t a stray hair in sight. You had problems with your stubble, little bristles of hair refusing to budge. You tried your best to shave them away but they stayed, stubborn stubble making its way down your neck. It never got too long, though it was always long enough to feel prickly as we kissed. I could tell you hated it; you wanted to be cleanly shaven.
Your nose was long, smoothly ended, with a little bump at the bridge. Your lips were full, luscious, soft and gentle to kiss. Your teeth gleamed white when you laughed, like little diamonds in your mouth. I loved it when you laughed, I thought it meant you were happy, that I’d made you happy. The laughing didn’t last.
Your eyes, they were your best feature. They were a bold jade colour, framed by long, thick, dark eyelashes; they were so bright and beautiful. They hid secrets I wanted to discover.
Of course, when I found out what the secrets where, I wished I’d never asked. Under your eyes were bags, delicate lines which revealed your secret worry, your hidden pain. Why hadn’t you told me before? We could have worked things out. I would have done anything for you. I adore you, you know that.
I thought I knew you, though of course, I always felt distanced from you. I just couldn’t get close enough. When you laughed there was an emptiness to it, I see that now. Sometimes you’d stare into space and I’d ask you what was wrong, but you never gave a real answer. I dismissed it because I loved you, I still do. I’ve forgiven you, even after you’ve left me, even after you’ve resorted me to this; standing on the edge of a cliff.
I’ll never forget that night. The things we said, the things we did. Why did it end up like that? Where did it all go wrong?
If it’s so hard for you then leave!
I hadn’t meant that, how could you have thought that I meant it? Didn’t you see the pain in my eyes? Didn’t my tears scream as they rolled down my cheeks? I begged you, silently, I pleaded with you to stay. But you didn’t need telling twice. You left.
I wanted to chase you down the road and yell at you to come back. We can work this out, I promise. I love you, just return to me, please.
But I didn’t. I was stubborn. For the first time in my life, I thought I’d put myself first, and not you. He’ll be back tomorrow, I thought. But you never did return.
I never believed that somebody could be another person’s life, but that’s what you were to me. When you didn’t come back, I didn’t know what to do. My life had suddenly lost its purpose. I had fallen asleep in your arms and woken up to your face every day for the past four years. I’d prepared meals and ironed shirts and polished shoes and trimmed curls, and that had been all I’d lived for. Don’t get me wrong, I’d been content with it. More than content. I’d adored life, living with you - living for you. I wouldn’t have changed a single thing.
So when you walked out and never came back, I didn’t know what to do. I went to sleep, but even when I woke up, I daren’t open my eyes, daren’t confront the harsh reality that you wouldn’t be laid beside me. What were the last words you’d said to me? I can’t remember. I can only remember your eyes, filled with hurt, as they gazed at me. I remember everything I said to you, and that’s what hurts most. I’d blamed you, and you’d believed me. You must have done, or you wouldn’t have left.
On the second day, I cleaned. When you came back you’d be disgusted if the house was a mess. You were a neat freak; nothing could be out of its place. Even the shoes in the cupboard were lined up like soldiers. I spent the day scrubbing and dusting and wiping and mopping, till the sweat dripped off my forehead and my hands ached with the effort.
On the third day, I began to worry. Where were you staying? You hadn’t packed a suitcase or anything. You’d left your mobile phone. You’d been off work anyway, called in ‘sick’, said you may need a couple of days off. If I rang them I could get you into trouble. If I rang your mother and you weren’t there, she’d panic too. I didn’t want to ring the police. Instead, I would wait for you.
I sat on the sofa expectantly, staring into space, waiting for the door to open, for you to burst in and take me into your arms and kiss me. I’d tell you I loved you, and it would be like nothing ever happened. We could resume our lives as normal.
Then I heard it – the knock on the door. I wondered what you were doing, knocking. You lived here, it was your home – our home. I wasted no time in jumping up and rushing to the front door, patting my hair into place and straightening my clothes; I couldn’t look a mess in front of you, couldn’t scare you away again when you’d only just returned. Returned. You’d returned. A smile had already formed on my lips at the thought. My heart thudded behind my chest as I gripped the door handle, pressing down on it, opening the door…
But it wasn’t you. I blinked at these policemen, stood solemnly before me, their expressions sympathetic. You’ve got the wrong house…
I could only pick out key words from what they told me; my brain was too numb to function properly and process anything else. Boulders…days ago…wallet…identify…
I had to identify the body. You’d been so happy and seemingly carefree – how could I bare to look at you laid there, with no life behind your closed eyes?
You looked so tense when I saw you, your shoulders squared, your face a hurt frown, as if you were wincing; your skin pale and greying in colour. I wanted to breathe life into you. I was too numb to move, too shocked to give a response. It was real; you were gone.
Is it you, they asked me. No, it isn’t. This man laid before me, this man who’d given up hope, this man filled with nothing but despair, this isn’t the man I’d known, not the man I’d loved, the man I still love.
Yes, it’s him, I whispered.
Seagulls caw above me now, their harsh screams echoing in my ears. I gaze up at them, wondering if any of them saw it happen. Were they the only witnesses?
I shuffle closer to the edge, taking tiny steps. When you left me, did you come straight to this cliff and commit suicide? Had you planned it anyway, regardless of whether I’d supported you with your problem or not? Was I the one who triggered it, your suicidal thoughts? I hope it wasn’t me. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if it was my fault. Did you stand here, frozen to the spot, or did you run and jump? I hope your death was instant, and not a long, painful one.
I think about the man who found you. It was in the local newspaper; it made front page coverage, it even got a pretty big mention in national news. Man walking dog finds dead body on beach. I hope he was a kind man, I hope he cradled you in his arms, and I hope you were a little bit conscious and thought it was me, holding you, comforting you as you left this earth. I wonder how that man would feel if he were to find another dead body, only days after he found yours. Would he guess who I was? Would he make the link, realise I was the unfortunate lover whose soul had been torn apart after you had died, only a week or so before?
Time has stopped since your life ended. There has been no meaning to it. It drags on, but where is it leading me to? A life of solitude, a life of misery and despair, a life of grief. It feels like only yesterday you made your confession to me. A confession that startled me, I’ll admit, but I forgave you the minute you uttered the words. How could I possibly hate you? To hate you is to hate life. Even after all you’ve done and all you’ve put me through, I still love you.
I feel the edge of the cliff underneath my feet. I sway dangerously, waiting for my body to collide with the boulders. I feel sick and dizzy. Did you? Who did you jump for – was it me, or you? Were you giving up on me, or on yourself? I try to convince myself that it wasn’t my words that pushed you over the edge, but of course, I know it was. If I’d have shown support instead of anger, then you’d still be here. I wouldn’t be stood here right now, shaking from the cold, and from the reality of what I want to do – of what you’ve done.
When you ended your life, you ended mine too. And I’m not sure I can cope without you - not for long, anyway. I don’t even think I’ll make it to the funeral. They want me to say a eulogy. Where would I begin? How could I describe perfection? That’s what you were, what you still are, to me.
The wind blows away my tears and wraps itself around me, and if I close my eyes, I can pretend it’s your arms. They’re tugging me away from the edge, telling me to go home. But home is just a house now, a house filled with memories that hurt too much to confront.
If I jump, does that mean I’m giving up on you? I lived for you - and I still do. I hold onto the memories that we made in the four years we knew each other. Is this how it ends – two shattered bodies, two souls torn apart? Or is this how it continues – a broken, fragile soul piecing together the memories of her lost soul mate? If I jump then I’ve given up on you, and I swore I’d never do that. You are the only thing I believe in, even when you’re not here to hold or love or cherish.
I have made my decision.
I step away from the edge.
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