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I stand on the edge. I am balanced on the tip of a knife. I look over the ledge to what lies beneath me. Why was I doing this? I knew I didn’t want to leave everything behind. But what was life now?
Where are you? This question rolls over and over in my mind, numbing every part of my being. Over the past few days I haven’t felt anything. The tears won’t stop falling. There is no way to control them.
I continue to look over the edge.
I don’t dare to even think of your name. Even through the numbness, I can still feel the stabbing pain when I think of your face.
But there is nothing stopping the constant images of you popping up. The times I spent with you. We sat together on the hood of your truck, looking up at the summer sky. You felt so warm. “I love you,” you had said at that very moment.
A stab in the stomach.
There is no longer the feeling of butterflies like there had been that night. We had been together for a year as of that day. I listened to your heartbeat very carefully.
Another tear falls.
I shake my head from side to side. No. I can’t think of that. I look down again. Nothing but blackness from the night surrounds me. I don’t want to see how far down the land beneath me is.
I hug you on the front porch. Dad said it was time for you to go.
You pull something out of the pocket of your worn blue jeans. Without showing it you place it in my hand, curling my fingers around it. I feel its round shape.
“I want you to have it,” you said. I know what it is. I had seen you wear it so many times before. You class ring.
I reach up on my toes to kiss you. You were so much taller than my five three frame. “I love you,” I said.
You pull away. “I love you too.”
I knew what he had meant by giving it to me. There were no words to describe it besides by knowing. He wanted to be with me forever. I knew that was what he had meant. We knew each other so well. I couldn’t have mistaken what he had meant.
You pulled away with a smile. “See you later.”
I stand on the porch as you walk to your old Ford. You start up the engine and head down the road, leaving a cloud of dirt left in your path.
I turn to go back inside. Dad was sitting in his chair reading the paper. I was still mad at him for making you go home. It had only been seven. On regular nights you had stayed until nine, as long as we were where Dad could see us. I didn’t understand what was so different tonight.
I had barely made it into the kitchen when there was a crashing noise outside. It sounded like someone was smashing metal against rock.
I try to hold back the memory. I don’t want to think about it. I won’t be able to take it. I won’t be able to handle it. I already feel the sharp pricks going in deeper and deeper into my body. That is all I feel, nothing more - just the sharp pain. I wish I could just turn off my mind. I wish I could just stop thinking, and live away from everyone. I don’t want to have to deal with this. The thoughts don’t help.
But it rolls on like a broken record.
Dad and I run outside to see what it is. The clouds of dirt have now disappeared. I follow him to the road.
He stands for a moment at the edge of the blacktop with amazement in his eyes. He takes off down the road.
But he didn’t recognize it like I did.
At first it didn’t quite click. I knew what it was, who’s it was, but I didn’t understand yet. But as my thoughts came more and more out of the fog, like the smoke that was beginning to billow out of the engine of the old teal Ford that laid on its side in the middle of the road, I started to feel clammy.
I bolted forward towards the truck. Tears began to stream down face, staining my skin.
“No,” I began to scream as I ran. “No,” I continued without end.
I fell to my knees in the middle of the road. Dad had arrived at the truck. He had just realized who was in the driver’s seat after peering through the shattered glass of the windshield. I could see his expression. There seemed to be no hope. He pounded the truck once.
My screams turned into shrieks of terror and loss. I held my sides and fell to the ground. The tears poured out of my eyes as I realized more and more what was happening to my life now. How everything was changing before my eyes.
No, I thought to myself. This couldn’t be happening. My face was becoming cold against the pavement. We were going to be so much more, I thought. I felt the ring on my finger. Another sob came out as a shriek.
At that moment I couldn’t feel anything. I couldn’t feel the rough pavement against my skin, the warm summer air becoming cooler, the salty tears streaming down my cheeks.
I fall to my knees. There is nothing I can do now. I can’t turn back the clock. Sobs try to block my airway. I haven’t spoken for days. Still I feel nothing but pain.
“Just take me now,” I say. “Why did this happen?”
I hold my sides. I feel like I’m about to be torn apart.
What was the use now? Could the pain get any worse? I don’t think it will. I bring myself to my feet with some difficulty. What could I do now? There was nothing worse than this. I knew that for sure.
I take a deep breath. “James,” I say. I cringe at the name, but it isn’t as hard as I thought it would be.
“Yes, Becky?” you voice echoes back in my thoughts.
A sob strikes me. It sounds so perfect. I don’t want to let it go.
“I love you,” I say quietly to the wind.
There is no response. I wait for something, anything at all, but nothing comes.
“James,” I say between tears. It’s becoming easier and easier to say your name.
I look next to me. I see you standing there in the dark. You look so beautiful, just how you always had.
“I love you too,” you say.
I dare not to move.
You smile back at me and I begin the cry again. How helpless am I now? Is there anything I can do to stop time.
“Don’t leave me,” I say, helplessly. There is no reason to say these words. You are already gone. But somehow they make everything feel alright.
I feel the urge to reach out towards you. I want to feel your touch so desperately. Just one last time. . .
In a blink of an eye you disappear. I look around to search for you but all I can find is darkness.
“I will always be with you,” your voice echoes in my thoughts, “remember that.”
I look over the edge at the darkness below, contemplating if I should leave everything in my life or not. Considering if I should take the plunge into the murky darkness just a step off the edge, or to go back into the fear of the lonely future without you.