The air was cold and bitter. It bit my fingertips and sent chills up my spine. The wind was wailing, as if singing a forlorn song of mourning. Beams of moonlight fell through the clouds, alluring the atmosphere into a rich shade of azure. I looked up. The sky was filled with stars, I got lost in its brilliant depth.
Vivid flashes of light shone around me in a crescent halo, as millions of diamonds made their descent. Surrounded by skyscrapers, I heard thousands of cars, driving past beneath me in a discord of urban cacophony and dissonance. A light breeze whistled past the satellites, I breathed in every drop. The height was tremendous, and I could feel the towering altitude. I felt so little beneath the twilight. But I wasn’t afraid. I felt empty instead.
I made this decision long ago. But I wasn’t brave enough. Or was I not scared enough? I did not know; but it didn’t matter. I took a deep breath. And I flew. I took off with the wind, rushing through the air. I drifted past the skies and into the heavens, absorbed by the soulfulness of the night. The moment was breathtaking, and it filled me up. I left all traces of doubt behind, not feeling empty anymore. I got caught up in elation; euphoria taking me away. I knew what was coming. The last thing I saw before I hit the ground was the sky full of stars.
“Who are you?”
“I mean your name, sir.”
I glanced up from my notepad. He was quite young, appearing to be no older than 12; not something that was usual these days. Well not at here at least.
“Winter.” He replied. I wrote that down.
Most people who come here doesn’t know what to expect. They appear rather bewildered or frightened, quite frankly. They’re dead, after all. The fact didn’t occur to me as often, I figure I’ve grown used to it.
The boy was wearing a old grey jacket, and his sneakers looked no better. He had brown hair and blue eyes, nothing remarkable. Still, first time seeing someone of this age.
“What’s your name?” He asked. I looked up from my notepad the second time.
“Valencia Adams.” I replied monotonously.
The sun started to set, and I felt the warmth through the windows. It was fortunate I can tell between night or day, or else I would’ve gone crazy. I didn’t need to eat or sleep, my sanity was the last thing I had to hold on to.
“How did you..” I started to ask. My least favorite part.
“Die?” He finished for me. He was surprisingly calm. Again, unlike most people.
“Yes, that.” I always disliked the concept of death. An irony, as I work with dead people all day. Well, I never had a choice in the first place.
“Long story, actually.”
“I could see that.” I murmured. I wasn’t always this sarcastic. “A little more specific.”
“I jumped off a building.” He told me after a moment, avoiding eye contact. I could see his hesitation. I lost my words as well.
“You..” I started to say.
“Yeah.” He said. A brief silence followed.
“Can you tell me more about what happened?” I asked, regaining my composure.
“I could’t bare life. So I decided to run away.”
“How was life?”
“Don’t want to talk about it.”
“I don’t either. But please. Tell me.”
“Mother died.” He looked away.
“Alcoholic. Never came back, you see.”
I didn’t know how to respond. A part of me wanted to feel sorry, but that would seem unnatural. I never knew who parents are, what life is like. It has been like this all along, in this office, in this chair, as far as I could remember. Forever, without a beginning or an end. I didn't even know why, but I stayed and worked. It started to get dark.
“It was a night like this.” Winter said, looking out the window. “When I jumped.”
I looked out the window too. The sky was beautiful, scattered with stars of serenity. I always found myself staring at it when nobody was here.
“I miss life you know.” He said. “I miss my mother.”
I needed to say something, but nothing came out.
“I can see her here, right?” He asked.
“I don’t think I should..”
“Tell me she’s here, she must be.” He sounded almost desperate.
I sighed. I took a glance at Winter. I’ve met countless people before, all with a story to tell. Why was he any different? I bit my lips. I opened the drawer on the desk and retrieved a key. Jet black, with a bright red ribbon tied to it. A number was engraved in it in golden lettering. I took a last good look at the night sky.
“She should be here.” I said, handing him the key.
“Is this really..”
“Her name was Loraine. I met her not so long ago, actually. She was worried about her son named Winter. She regretted that she came here this early. She had blue eyes just like yours.”
“Thats her!” Winter said excitedly. “But..”
“Why? Take it.” I said.
“Would she be happy to see me?” He asked, hesitantly.
“She missed her son, she missed you, dearly.”
“I know I did it, and there’s no going back. But will she really want me.. Dead? ”
I lost my words. The office went quiet. Then I opened my mouth to speak.
“Yes. Your mother will be very happy to see you.” I managed to say. I smiled faintly.
Winter didn’t say anything back. He just looked at my open hand, tears filling up his eyes. I waited. I waited for him to take it, and head out my office. I waited, not realizing I wanted Winter and Loraine to be together again. I never felt something like this before, something so alive. I didn’t know what it was. Moments later, Winter seemed he’d just made up his mind. With a final nod of assurance, Winter took the key from my open hands.
“Thank you Valencia.” He said, standing up. “Thank you.”
“You are an exception, I really shouldn’t pity dead people.”
“I don’t have anything I can give you.”
“Nor do I need much. I wasn’t looking for gratitude.” I was a little surprised.
“Wait, I do have this.”
Winter reached in his pocket and retrieved a silver locket. He flipped it open, and handed it to me. Inside the locket, was a photo. A photo of Loraine and Winter. He held it out for me.
“Mother gave this to me when I was little. Held on to it ever since.”
“It’s fine..”? “So you won’t forget me.” Winter said. “You won’t forget me, right?”
I paused for a moment. Then I spoke.
“Yes Winter. I will never forget you.” I took the locket from him. It was warm and felt smooth to the touch. It shone like a star.
“Good bye, Valencia.” Winter said, standing up.
“Good bye, Winter.”
He headed towards the door, opened it, and walked out.
Time past since I met Winter and his mother. I still have the pendant he gave, and I plan to keep on to it, just like he did. But now that he’s gone, I do get a little lonely in here. Curious thing I never felt alone before I met Winter. Well, at least I still have the stars to look at.