Saving a Life

You’re walking to grab lunch when you see a crowd gathered around a building. You look up and see that someone is standing on the ledge, looking to jump. You hear a police office close to you mention that the person is about to commit suicide. He also mentions the person’s name: and it’s someone you know! Write a scene where you attempt to stop the jumper from jumping.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

Want more creative writing prompts? Consider:

You might also like:

688 thoughts on “Saving a Life

  1. Nataliee

    I wasn’t even hungry. Lunch was just something to do, and so I had walked towards the café, deliberating in my head about what to eat, as if it were the most important thing in the world.

    I didn’t hear the screams over the pop blasting through my headphones, so the crowd barely registered from a distance. But as I got closer, my eyes flickered to the top of the Victorian building. A dark figure stood on the edge of the balcony, leaning forward, their hands clutching the balcony behind them.

    I tugged my headphones out of ears, and joined the worried crowd beneath. The police were already there, speaking worriedly into their radios and occasionally shouting up above.

    “Woman identified as Miss Sarah Field,” muttered one of the policeman into his radio, and my heart dropped. It couldn’t be the same Sarah, right? It was a common name, it could be anyone. But looking up at the figure high above, the skinny arms and the jet black hair, I knew it couldn’t be anyone else.

    I hadn’t seen Sarah for almost five years. We had been best friends at school, but we had gone to university at different ends of the country and had ultimately lost touch. She had always seemed so happy and full of life, and it was almost impossible to believe that it was the same girl clutching on to the railings above us.

    “I know her!” I cried desperately to the policeman. “Please let me go up there!” He stared at me worriedly for a minute, obviously deliberating what to do. Finally, he sighed, and nodded towards the door.

    Her front door wasn’t locked, so I sprinted through her apartment to the doors leading out to balcony.
    “Sarah!” I cried, and she turned around in shock, almost losing her balance on the little ledge. We both made a little squeak of surprise as she wobbled, but she managed to hold on to the black metal rails. “What are you doing?”

    “I…I can’t take it any more Julie,” she was sobbing, salty tears leaving black tracks of mascara down her cheeks. “My life is falling apart, I have no one left. I can’t do it.”

    “You have me,” I said quietly. She laughed harshly.

    “Yeah, sure. When have you been in my life recently? You left after school, and never even looked back, as if I didn’t even matter anymore. Just like everyone else in my life.”

    Now I was crying too, and I reached out my hand to her.

    “I’m sorry,” I whispered. “But please don’t do this. I care about you, I really do.” She was sobbing, her whole body shaking, and her hands loosened a little on the railing. I reached forward and grabbed her arm. She screamed.

    “Don’t touch me!” she shouted. “I’ll jump!”

    “I won’t let you.” I said, and as her eyes met mine, I realised that she knew I was right.

  2. savage77

    NOTE: this is my first time I ever shared one of my story’s so I would love to hear your comments

    Waiting for food is hard. Especially when you only have 45 minutes for lunch break. I have to admit the last few months have been hard with the miscarriage it really took a toll on Michelle, but I think things are going to turn around.
    Fumbling with the little red velvet box in my pocket I start to have second thoughts but the commotion by my office distracts me. Before I can see whats going “Number 222″ was called I go up to get my burrito and head over to the building. As I grow closer I hear shout about not jumping. I finally see the woman standing on the roof of a 32 story building. I make my way with my burrito in one hand up to the front of crowd. With a police man was right next to me the woman seems to have the same shape as Michelle
    Policeman “Michelle you dont have to jump”
    Me:”Michelle?!”
    All these thoughts are raced threw my head at one time. Shoving my burrito into the officers hand I duck under the yellow tape and raced threw the building
    “COME BACK YOUR NOT ALLOWED OVER THERE!” shouted after me.
    I didnt have te time to wait for the elevator so I started on the milions of stairs that where to come. I never ran that fast before. Taking two and three stairs at a time. By the 15 floor my calves where on fire and my breath left my long before. Half way there. I somehow picked up the speed and bolted up the last 1,027 steps. I slammed my body into the door leading outside.
    “Michelle” I managed to yell between staggered breaths.
    Wiping her curled auburn hair around the sunlight hitting it making it look like its glowing. The tears glistening down her cheeks. That moment I realized I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, but the pleading look in her eyes told me she was ready to end hers. I forced my legs to move reaching out missing her by more than an arm. I dont know what made me do it. The fact of loosing the love of my life mixed with the adrenaline pumping threw my veins or did I just slip. It doesn’t matter because all I know is Im falling inches above her almost peacefully onto oblivion.

  3. emfullen

    I tapped my foot, impatiently waiting for my lunch to be prepared. “182, your order is ready.” I rushed to the counter to retrieve my food and left quickly. I was eager to get back to work. It was approximately ten minutes past my lunch break and I desperately needed to get back to the office as soon as possible. As I was impatiently waited at the crosswalk I noticed a crowd emerging in front of my work building. They were looking up, screaming things like: “DON’T JUMP!” I ran as fast as I could and joined the crowd. “Who’s up there?” I asked a police officer that was standing by. “Someone by the name of ‘Abigail Masons’” he responded. My mouth gaped open. My own best friend was committing suicide?I dropped everything- my overpriced sandwich, my purse, and the coffee I was supposed to bring in to the office. I ran. Scratch that. I sprinted faster than I would if I was being chased with a knife. I almost hit the automatic doors before they could sense I was there. I HAD to stop her. People in the building obviously had no clue what was going on- or they just couldn’t care less. I slammed my body into the stairwell door forcefully and continued running, up and up and up. I reached the roof and my calves were burning like somebody had poured acid on them, but I didn’t stop. I opened the stairwell door and there was Abigail standing on the ledge, tears streaming down her face, her arms spread out like a bird. Her heels were on the edge of the building and she rocked back and forth. “Abig-” I choked out. I reached out out to her, but I was too far away to reach her. She fell. I don’t know what made me do it. Maybe the adrenaline, maybe the pain, or fear. That was the day I died. Jumping after Abi, as though I could swoop down and save her. We didn’t scream, we didn’t yell. We just fell silently in front of a crowd.

  4. baileylundberg

    I sat at church every Sunday like a good little girl until I was 12 and smart enough to tell my dad I was sick, or that I’d rather go the bible at my own pace because I read much better than I listen. I did go through the bible on my own, and decided that half of it wasn’t reasonable – come on, I’m eating bacon, that shit is delicious. I read enough of the bible to know that suicide was considered a sin. When I asked my dad about it he said “God gave you life and he’s the only one who should take it away.” My father’s the preacher at my small town’s main church, a beautiful white building with the tallest bell tower in Minnesota.

    My 15 year old sister Chloe’s boyfriend Jordan killed himself after his mother died of ovarian cancer, and she locked herself in her room for 3 months straight. My father conducted the funeral, but at dinner that night with my sister still in her black dress and not speaking, he said “Suicide is a sin. A damn sin! That kid will rot in Hell for the rest of time!” even though hours ago at the service he’d said that Jordan was probably having a blast up in heaven with his mother and offered his ‘sincerest’ condolences to Jordan’s father.

    At the end of the third month on my birthday when she refused to come out for cake, my father went busting in to her room to find her passed out with a bottle of our deceased mother’s old diabetes pills and drove her to the hospital. After she recovered, he wouldn’t stop yelling at her. “Do you want to spend all of eternity suffering in Hell?” He’d scream. “Suicide is a sin for many reasons! Do you want to cause your sister and I pain?” She wouldn’t say anything, she hasn’t in a long time. She’d just sit there and take it. So I had to step in.

    “Dad!”

    “What do you want? I’m talking to your sister.” He said irritably.

    “You aren’t talking to her! You’re talking AT her, can’t you see she’s not listening anymore?!” My dad looked at my sister staring blankly at the wall in front of her like she did most days and I could tell he knew I was right. “I need to talk to you alone.”

    “If what you say is true, then we are alone.” My dad said.

    “She’s only gone when you start lecturing her.” I informed him, stepping out of the room and into the little hallway. My dad followed me, sightly hunched over, and I could tell that his anger was what kept him from facing the fear of losing his youngest child.

    “What is it?” He sounded completely exhausted.

    “If you want her to want to live, you’d better start talking to her like a human being with faults and problems. Sometimes when you’re asleep and not yelling at her, I go in there and I hug her. I kiss her forehead, and she looks up at me with her brown eyes and I swear I can read her mind. At dinner after Jordan’s funeral, you made her feel like her grief was stupid. You made her feel that since he died in a way you don’t approve of, he doesn’t deserve a happy afterlife. She felt like you didn’t think she had the right to be sad. So she tried to bottle it up, but he was so much a part of her she bottled herself up instead. Now she’s trapped in there with it, and it was driving her mad, she just wanted it to be over, so she reached for the pills. At dinner after her funeral would you talk to me in my black dress and tell me my sister was a horrible sinner and that she’d suffer in Hell for forever? Would you sit and drive me to kill myself too?” I let loose on my father and before I knew it he’d pulled me into a hug and he was sobbing into my hair. My sister was still looking at her wall. I didn’t know if we were ever going to get her back completely, but I was willing to try. I took my dad’s hand and led him back into my sister’s room.

    I breathed words of life and with every word, I could see a little life creep back into her eyes.

    “It’s okay to cry, Chloe.” I said finally, and I watched her lip quiver. “It’s okay to be sad, daddy understands.”

    My father stood from his chair in the corner and approached her. He held out his hand and she slowly reached up to slip her hand in his as an acceptance to his silent but sincere apology. He tugged her into a tight hug, and I smiled in the back until they both dragged me into their embrace. I could stay like this forever.

    In the technical way, my father saved her life, he kept her breathing. But I kept her from slipping away into the furthest depths of her mind where we would never have been able to reach her.

    All I can say is that there is a definite difference between being alive and living.

  5. walterz

    The Jumper
    by Walter Zogg
    “Rrriiinnnggg” the school bell screeches. I sling on my back pack and start heading out of the class. “hey you wanna grab a some pizza” my best friend Isaac asks? “sure” I reply. Isaac and I walk out the high school doors heading for double Daves pizza. “how’s your dad doing? I heard from your sister he’s not doing too well.” Isaac asks. “He got fired yesterday and seems pretty down” I say. “we oo we oo we oo” a police car zoomed by. “whoa what do you think going on” I ask. But before he can respond I look ahead and see what’s wrong. There’s a man on top of a four story chik fil a crying! I see lots of police cars surrounding the building and screaming uplifting things at the man. Me being a freshman took a while to understand what was going on. “wait he’s going to jump” I say. “somebody needs to stop him”. The next thing a police officer shouts throws me off guard. “Benet don’t do this. Your life is going to turn out great. You have kids a loving wife just because right now you’re not doing good doesn’t mean the rest of your life will be bad. “benet” i say. I look closer at the man on top of the building. He has short brown hair and bright blue eyes. “Thats my dad” I say feeling queasy. “Dad” I shout. He looks in my direction but he can’t find me. “I’ve got to go save him” I tell Isaac. isaac just stands there looking even more shocked and confused then me. I race to the chic fil a door just to see it taped off with yellow police tape. “you can’t go in” a police officer says. “But But thats my dad” I say. “Maybe” the police officer says. “you maybe can go in but let me ask head chief”. “We don’t have the time for that” I say. As he runs of to ask the chief I slip under the yellow tape and open the door unnoticed. I climb the up the flight of stairs as fast as I can skipping by twos and threes. I reach the top in what seems like forever. I open the door that leads to the roof and hoist myself up on too the roof. “Dad what are you doing” I ask while walking closer to him. He looks really embarrassed for me to see him crying and ready to end his life. “If it’s the job dad, you can get another one. “ I say “I I just feel terrible” my dad mutters through tears. “ You shouldn’t feel bad. You have raised three great kids, you’ve always been nice to everyone around you, and your always upbeat and know how to comfort me when I am down.” now that I know how he is feeling I don’t see how he comforted me and told me it was okay when he felt like it wasn’t going to turn out good. “I just feel like you deserve more than what I can give you. You deserve someone who’s super nice and can get you what you need”. “Dad I would rather have you. you have given me some much.” I grab his hand and go for the stairs. “you will be okay” I say not sure myself if he will be.

  6. crazzylittlephantom

    My coffee was starting to get cold, but I didn’t care. I stopped caring a while ago, when I heard my neighbour’s name coming out of a police megaphone.
    He was so damn high, all I could think about was how green I must look.
    “I hate heights” I whispered to myself, while my feet carried me towards the building. I had to do something, I knew it. I just was too scared to admit I was about to go up there.
    I reached the door, just in time to be spotted by a police officer, who of course ran towards me.
    “Ma’am you can’t go in there.” he said grabbing my arm.
    “I live here. My mom’s waiting for me, she must be sick worried. Please let me in.” I looked at him with puppy eyes.
    He hesitated but finally said ok and let me in. I threw my coffee in the garbage and started running upstairs.
    4 floors…5… my heart was about to crush my ribs, looking for a way out.
    10…11… I could hardly breathe any more. The air was hurting my throat and my legs didn’t stop shaking. But I didn’t stop running.
    I reached the top trembling and breathless, but I didn’t care. If I stopped, Josh wouldn’t have the chance to breathe again.
    “Hey!” I screamed with what was left of my lungs. “Josh, it’s Lizzie”
    “Go away Lizzie!” He screamed without looking at me. “This is not of your business.”
    “You’re right. It’s not. But I know how you feel right now, I mean, besides scared.”
    “You can’t stop me.” he said, barely turning his head to see me. But it was more about me seeing him. He wanted me to see the determination in his eyes.
    “I’m not here to stop you.” I walked slowly towards him and climbed to the wall where he was. “I’m here to jump with you.”
    He looked at me with shocked eyes. “What?”
    “You heard me, how about we do it on three? I count. One….two..thr-”
    “WAIT!” he screamed holding my arm and making me lose balance. When I recovered it i said “what? You said you wanted to jump!”
    “I… I just…”
    “I’ll count again ok? One..”
    “No! stop it!! Why are you doing this?”
    “Because I know how you feel.” He looked at me with disbelief in his eyes.
    “How can you-”
    “I know you thing life sucks. And it does, actually. Life sucks, it doesn’t always get you what you want. Life is a complicated thing we worry about. I know what it’s like to feel abandoned, and even if you’re not alone, you feel like you always are. I know what pity can do to a person when you see it in everyone’s eyes including your own family. I know what’s like to cry yourself to sleep every night, hoping that in the morning everything will be ok but it’s not. I know what’s like to see yourself in the mirror and hate the single sight of it. I know what’s like to feel there’s nothing left for you to do but die. But I also know what it feels to be standing on the edge of life, begging for it to stop already. Feeling the air brush your face, fearing it might push you before you’re actually ready. ” I looked at the floor trying not to show my tears, he was staring at me now. “I know that… because that was me, two years ago. I stood at the edge of a hospital’s roof for about an hour before somebody noticed. I remember my head was really cold, because there wasn’t a single hair on it. I remember the burning feeling of the chemo running through my body and the tears of pain that ran on my cheeks. But there was something that made me change my mind. My mind went crazy and I thought “not today” and came down. It was the best decision I’ve made. I got better, I got my hair back and my mom and dad smile again. I guess what I’m trying to tell you is that, you can’t possibly see into the future, you don’t know what tomorrow holds for you. You just have to wait and see, and believe me, it’s worth it.” I came down of the edge and extended my hand for him to take. “Life’s like a roller coaster. But if you get down in the middle, you’ll miss the best part of it.”
    He hesitated, but took my hand and came down. “thank you” he whispered in my ear while crying all over my shoulder.
    “Come on” I said, “Let’s buy coffee”

  7. crazzylittlephantom

    My coffee was starting to get cold, but I didn’t care. I stopped caring a while ago, when I heard my neighbour’s name coming out of a police megaphone.
    He was so damn high, all I could think about was how green I must look.
    “I hate heights” I whispered to myself, while my feet carried me towards the building. I had to do something, I knew it. I just was too scared to admit I was about to go up there.
    I reached the door, just in time to be spotted by a police officer, who of course ran towards me.
    “Ma’am you can’t go in there.” he said grabbing my arm.
    “I live here. My mom’s waiting for me, she must be sick worried. Please let me in.” I looked at him with puppy eyes.
    He hesitated but finally said ok and let me in. I threw my coffee in the garbage and started running upstairs.
    4 floors…5… my heart was about to crush my ribs, looking for a way out.
    10…11… I could hardly breathe any more. The air was hurting my throat and my legs didn’t stop shaking. But I didn’t stop running.
    I reached the top trembling and breathless, but I didn’t care. If I stopped, Josh wouldn’t have the chance to breathe again.
    “Hey!” I screamed with what was left of my lungs. “Josh, it’s Lizzie”
    “Go away Lizzie!” He screamed without looking at me. “This is not of your business.”
    “You’re right. It’s not. But I know how you feel right now, I mean, besides scared.”
    “You can’t stop me.” he said, barely turning his head to see me. But it was more about me seeing him. He wanted me to see the determination in his eyes.
    “I’m not here to stop you.” I walked slowly towards him and climbed to the wall where he was. “I’m here to jump with you.”
    He looked at me with shocked eyes. “What?”
    “You heard me, how about we do it on three? I count. One….two..thr-”
    “WAIT!” he screamed holding my arm and making me lose balance. When I recovered it i said “what? You said you wanted to jump!”
    “I… I just…”
    “I’ll count again ok? One..”
    “No! stop it!! Why are you doing this?”
    “Because I know how you feel.” He looked at me with disbelief in his eyes. “I know you think life sucks. And it does, actually. Life sucks. It doesn’t always get you what you want. I know what it is to feel abandoned, to feel like there’s nothing else you can do for yourself but die. I know what it’s like to see pity in the eyes of everyone around you including your family. I know what it’s like to cry yourself to sleep every night for years until one day you just can’t take it any more.”
    “I also know, what being standing on the edge of a building feels like. The air threatening to push you, all the nosey people looking up at you, being more curious than worried.”
    “How do you..”
    “Because I’ve been there, Josh. Because I was in your position two years ago. Standing at the top of a hospital where I spent more time than in my own house. Wanting all the pain and the suffering to be over. Wanting my mom and dad to move on from me, from all my expenses into a life they’d actually enjoy. I stood there, feeling the chemo burn my body while I cried. But life is worth it. Believe me. You don’t know the future. I’m better now, I’m getting better. My parents are happy now.” I stepped down the edge. “You don’t know what tomorrow holds, but you need to find out. Life goes up and down like a roller coaster, but if you get down before the ride ends, you’ll miss the best part of it… so what do you say?” I extended my hand so he could take it.
    He hesitated for a while, but he reached out and took it. He smiled at me with tears in his eyes. Then he hugged me real thight.
    “Thank you” he whispered in my ear.

    And now, my make up runs, because he’s standing there, at the end of the aisle, waiting for me to say I do, and of course I do.

  8. shealianne

    A scream rang out in the midafternoon heat and for some reason, maybe a secret hero’s complex, I ran towards it. Just around the street corner a small crowd, with looks of horrified fascination and craned necks, gathered. I knew what was happening before the officer beside me sighed, “Not another one.”
    I let my eyes relish each of the ten layers of windowsills, counting them in turn before finally raising them to what my eyes already knew they’d find. A lone figure sitting with feet dangling from the roof’s ledge. Even though I saw it coming I still had to catch my gasp in shaking hands.
    “Come on down,” the police officer shouted up at the figure. “We know you don’t really want to do this.” Apparently, they didn’t really know because below someone was setting up a tarp to catch this mystery jumper’s fall.
    “I know what I’m doing.” The figure called down. Something about the voice caught my attention. All of a sudden I remembered a warm classroom.
    “James, you understand the consequences of you not working. You’re smarter than this really,” I sighed.
    “I know a lot about life, Miss Dallyway.”
    “James,” I whispered and then to the policeman. “Officer, could I speak to him for a second. He’s my student.”
    “Be my guest, lady,” the incompetent officer handed over the megaphone.
    The figure on the ledge shimmied closer to the edge.
    “James!” I shouted in panic and then with forced calm, “James. It’s Miss Dallyway.”
    He paused in his motion. “I’m sorry. I know a lot about life and I know it’s not worth anything,”
    I wracked my brain for something that meant anything and suddenly, “Have you ever read a Tale of Two Cities?
    “Yes,” he replied hesitantly
    Now the whole crowd was staring at me. I didn’t really like public speaking and I could feel my palms were slick with sweat. I pushed on. “Do you remember Dr. Manette? He is unfairly jailed for eighteen years of his life. He loses everything his wife, his daughter, even his own identity.”
    “And?”
    “And when he finally meets his daughter he finds in her a good that wipes away all the horror of a past life of misery.”
    “What about Carton?” he shot back. “He kills himself.”
    “James, Carton sees something in life. He sees something in the mutual love of caring enough about a person that you would spend the vain effort in trying to understand them. He sees something in trying to preserve the justice of the innocent even if it only buys them five minutes of safety. Having meaning is important, James. If you just stay you’ll find a goodness greater than you could ever imagine.”
    I can still hear his voice years later at the valedictorian podium, “I don’t know a lot about life and who I am, but I have found a goodness and a love worth preserving. A love that recalls to life and that is all I need.”

  9. mysticwater

    She’s standing at her end. The roof of the abandoned building seems to be crumbling at her feet. Just like how she feels on the inside, abandoned and broken.

    Painfully ironic.

    I notice her dark hair whipping around her face, the wind speeds at that height could easily knock her off balance. You could almost see her teeter on the ledge, like she was waiting and willing the wind to carry her away.

    “Confirmed identity on the jumper!” I overhear her name on the police radio. My stomach lurches.

    The first responders are squabbling amongst themselves; Should they wait for negotiators? Should we call her family? She just needs her medicine! Should we call a doctor? She’s prob just doing it for attention, she won’t REALLY kill herself. She just needs time, she’ll be fine. She will give up and come down, don’t feed her empty threats.

    These idiots, nervously glancing upwards every few moments, it changes nothing. She’s still standing there, waiting to end it all.

    But the name they referred to her as… I heard what I heard. Didn’t I? It’s impossible, right? Surely I am mistaken, having the same name as me must be coincidence. But the more I stare up at her, the more pain I begin to feel too.

    Instinct and adrenaline has me racing into the old building, flying up the desolate stairs with ease. No one questions my sudden surge of authority or even notices my quick ascent to the roof of the building.

    No one else will save her.

    Pushing on the heavy metal door, I rush into the ironically beautiful sunlight. She hears the loud creak of the door and looks back at me frantically.

    Fear. Agony.

    Masquera tears are streaked down her face. Wet makeup smudged and melted across her beautiful features.

    She looks broken.

    The wind beats the hair violently about her face. Her eyes are pained in sadness and fear.

    She looks how I feel.

    She is me. The shell of the girl I was. I found her.

    “It’s too hard!” She wails at me, “it’s too loud in my head! The nightmares will never stop! I don’t want to be in pain anymore…” Her sobs trail off as she glances out over the city, her eyes glazed in tears and sorrow.

    “I know…” I whisper, reaching my hand out to her. No dark void to hide her from me any longer, I see her clearly now.

    She’s broken and she’s scared. Her weakness gives me strength and I begin to ease my way towards her.

    “We are not alone. 一人じゃないよ。” I say, and she can’t help but look back at me and my outreached fingers straining to touch her. “I will save us. We will fight this pain together. We will keep living-”

    “How!?” She interrupts me, more tears streaming down her face. She regards me in such unbelievable doubt and disdain, it stings. “The nightmares and pain won’t stop! What’s the point?”

    Indeed, that’s the question I still ask myself everyday. What is the point? What are we living for? Why am I still fighting?

    “We have to keep fighting…” My voice is cracking but I am determined not to let myself break again. There has to be a part of me that won’t give up. “Fighting for ourselves and for other rape victims! Fight for others who still can’t find their voice. We will keep fighting for other survivors and most importantly we will keep fighting for the ones who love us.” I’ve got her attention, my attention. I can see a glimmer of hope in her hazel eyes.

    “I know you are impatient, but we will be happy again! I refuse to give up, I refuse to let that man kill me from the inside out. I will tell our story, and even though I will cry and be angry, I will heal. We will heal.”

    “I want to heal…” She whimpers, I watch as she begins to reach for me. “I don’t want it to hurt anymore.”

    I sigh and lift my hand so we are mere inches apart. “It’s going to hurt for awhile longer. But we are not alone.” I remind her and she exhales.

    She stumbles forward and falls into my waiting embrace, disappearing within my body.

    Tears stream down my face. I may have saved myself from giving up, but the road will still be painful.

    I’m not alone. I have the love for myself back again.

  10. snovy121

    “Officer! She’s about to jump!” someone frantically pleaded to a cop, referring to a woman approaching the edge of a six story building. The cop squinted as he looked up and met the blinding sun.

    I shook my head in disgust. This was probably just some cry for help. A suicidal person would have already jumped, and sure wouldn’t retreat based on trite warm fuzzies from a stranger.

    “Ma’am, please step off the ledge. You have so much to live for,” the cop called up.

    “Let’s just go,” I whispered to my companion Jake. Onlookers were already multiplying around the building.

    “I have nothing left!” the woman desperately cried.

    “That’s Rose King!” Jake recognized our dear friend’s voice. I took a closer look. It was her! And that shrill voice was unmistakable. My heart started pounding like it was going to jump out my throat. What was Rose doing on that building? Just yesterday we had been imagining outlandish scenarios that would land us in prison. We agreed my neurosis would cause me to turn myself in for driving under the influence despite a BAC well under the legal limit. But I couldn’t even think of a funny reason for Rose to go to prison.

    “You’re too sane to ever go to prison,” I said.

    Her face got serious as she lowered her voice to a suggestive tone. “I lost my virginity to my underage brother. We wore the outfits in our family portraits. I could go to prison for that.”

    I about fell on the floor. If I didn’t know Rose so well, I may have thought she was serious, with that deep tone and intense look in her eyes. But honest to God, she was just so together, I knew it was a sick, hilarious joke. I could always predict Rose’s fundamental behavior and motivations, but never her perverse antics. And that’s what kept them so damn funny. But maybe I misread her. There was clearly more pain and unpredictability than she let on.

    “Rose!” I screamed, “Get down!”

    “The horror! The pain! I can’t go on!” she melodramatically bellowed, intentionally exaggerating each syllable and raising her arms with each utterance.

    I could feel my eyes widen, unsure if this was one of Rose’s pranks. But that made no more sense than an actual suicide attempt. No way would she pull a prank this messed up.

    “Miss King, please step down,” the cop again called up.

    “I don’t need your help! You can’t understand me! I bet you don’t even know the pain of your mother denying you a bowl cut in the fourth grade!” Rose answered, farcically raising fists in the air.

    I bursted out laughing. “Rose, seriously, what the hell?”

    She smiled back, right at me, no longer able to hold up the act.

    “I just got up here to check out the view. You all started freaking out, so I went with it. But you should have seen the look on your face!”

COMMENT