"I'm a monster". He said. He was looking right at me.
"You don't look like a monster." I said. He was wearing a dark blue hoodie and black jeans. He was clean shaven, and his hair looked freshly cut.
"I am. I promise."
"I don't believe you."
"You don't know me." He was clutching one of the bridge wires to steady himself. He wouldn't stop looking at me. "Why do you care, anyways?"
I glanced around at the empty, midnight air. I shrugged and kicked an imaginary pebble on the sidewalk. "Same reason as you, actually.
" He let out a breath that I think was supposed to be a laugh.
"Fuck." he said. He finally took his eyes off me as he shook his head. "Of course you are! No other reason to be way out here by yourself on a beautiful Friday night.
" He stared at the water several hundred feet below us. "Get out of here, man. Pick another night to die."
I didn't say anything. I just stared at him for a while.
"You don't get to tell me that." I said. He just kept looking at the water. "I came out here to end it all *tonight*." He was still looking at the water.
"You think you can take that away from me? You think your problems are worse than mine?" He looked at me.
"Problems?" He said. "This isn't about problems. This is about reality. I'm a monster. I need to die."
I rolled my eyes: "And I don't?"
He didn't blink: "Let me guess: you lost your job and you didn't tell your wife. When she found out she trashed the house and left you. She took the kids with her too.
The last thing she said was that she wanted a divorce.
You've got money but no one's biting in the job interviews you've been doing for the past--what--year or so? So you've been pulling out of savings. Next you'll have to start selling things.
All your debts have started piling up anyways. Give it another year, and you'll probably be on the street. That's unless someone bites on the interviews. But no one will, because they haven't.
I kicked another imaginary pebble. "Two years," I said, "I've been out of work for two years. Wife just found out tonight."
I heard him scoff: "You don't need to die, man. You just feel like shit. Go home. Sleep it off."
I clenched my jaw and glared at him. "Stop telling me what to do."
This time he definitely laughed: "See, there it is. Everyone. Every damn person I meet!" He was looking at me again.
"That irritation you're feeling? That dislike for me? That's just the start. Everyone gets it, even when I was a fuckin' little kid people were getting it.
For as long as I can remember I have repelled people."
"They've all fucked off! Everyone I ever met! And the people who've stuck around only did it cuz they pitied me. My own wife pities me.
You know what that's like? To have your fuckin' wife *pity* you?"
"Nah, man. You don't need to die. I do. I'm a fuckin' monster." He let go of the bridge wire, and he teetered on the railing.
I stood with my hands in my pockets; frozen. I had never watched someone die before. He started to fall, and I reached out instinctively. My hand caught hold of something that felt like fabric.
I squeezed as hard as I could. His weight whipped me into the railing. My shoulder made a popping noise and I gasped for breath. I reached out with my free hand and grabbed a bridge wire.
I couldn't feel the ground under my feet, but I felt the bridge wire in one hand and fabric in the other, so I held on. My chest ached and I struggled to take in air.
The arm that had caught the fabric was shooting pain through my entire body. I thought I could feel it spasm periodically. When I finally caught my breath, I looked down.
I had caught him by the hood of his sweater.
He hung limp below me, dangling two hundred feet in the air. I couldn't see his face.
I looked up and saw that we were over the railing, that the only thing keeping us from falling was my tight grip on the bridge wire. I closed my eyes in an attempt to stop the tears.
First I let go of the hoodie. When I heard the body hit the water below with a horrifying *SMACK*, I let go of the bridge wire.