The end of my life came slowly. As slowly as the wind swung her long, wavy hair. The chestnut coloured strands shinned like honey as she spun around to face me.
Her young emerald eyes meeting my frightened stare.
"Hello." Her voice was soft and smooth. I wondered how she could be so calm considering how close to the ledge she was. My words were less composed, met with a chuckle.
"I won't jump today." That was less than reassuring.
"Maybe tomorrow?" Her charming tone seemed misplaced with the subject.
"Are you going to try and talk me out of it?" Her sentence sat heavily on my shoulders, I felt then responsible for her life. I took my time trying to come up with the right question.
"Why? Well-" She shrugged playfully.
"Why not? Why does anything happen?" My heart leaped up into my throat as she turned towards the ledge; gesturing to the ground fourteen stories below.
"I'll be like a leaf falling from a tree." She had said so surely. Her heels lifted from the rubber roofing, toying with my anxieties. After that I asked her about her worries.
She gracefully dodged each of my questions, avoiding topics that would have given me any clues into her life.
"I found family and community within myself." It was such a wise answer for someone so young. By the time the sun had set, I was more confused than I had started.
But I believed her when she said she reassured me she wasn't going to jump that day. I decided to leave before her. That car ride home felt long as I contemplated things.
I thoughts back on how she danced around my concerns. I had be talked down from calling any help. The only thing accomplished in our conversation was her calming me down.
With each glare from the oncoming headlights I hoped to see her the next day. I hoped to understand her.
"Hello." That single word washed away all my panic. I tried dissecting her life again, mistakenly believing she just needed someone to talk to.
Each question she avoided, more stubbornly than before.
"I'd like to be a bird in my next life." Frustration boiled in me as she ignored my worries. Her green eyes shone in the evening sun.
"I would love to fly instead of fall." Sadness flashed across her cheerful features. That brief moment of pain left me speechless.
But it was gone faster than I could capture an image of it in my mind.
The following day she was sitting with her legs dangling over the ledge. My fears were less invasive, I had learned to trust her resolve. To see me at least, I thought.
We talked about mindless things, until we started to run out of topics.
The day after that I offered her a bag of salt and vinegar chips, and my company. Silence crept between us quickly. But the sound of her eating the chips reassured me.
On the seventh day we simply listened to the chaos below. Both our feet dangling over the ledge. Butterflies swirled in my stomach as a gentle breeze caressed my bare toes.
The intentions of trying to understand her still weighed on my mind, Though neither of us spoke I felt closer to that goal with each passing day. All I needed was that soft "Hello.".
On the tenth day all my nervousness vanished. She walked along the roof's edge ahead of me of me. One foot in front of the other, heel to toe.
Our arms outstretched for balance, playing with the distant fears of death.
"I feel like a bird ready to fly." She had said, her voice breaking the day long silence between us. A gust of air shook her footing.
Her arms flailed as she leaned in, falling with a gentle thud beside me. Through a mess of hair our eyes locked, before we both broke out in laughter.
On the eleventh day she was gone.
Instead of her soft voice I was greeted with the distant sounds of sirens. Feeling a tight sense of loss I stepped towards the ledge.
Looking down to see the red sprayed across the sidewalk. It looked beautiful. I watched the birds flying above, thinking of the girl now with wings.
On the twelfth day I realized how alone I was. My hair brushed against my forehead as I studied the lovely stain on the cement. I imagined myself as a bird flying above with her.
The wind slipping against my skin, made me feel alive.
Today I stand facing a man with terror pinching up his brows. My calm doesn't fade as I greet him with a -