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On the Ledge of the Charlicotte Bridge
I am sitting here with my chin in my hands, tasting the salt of my own pathetic tears. Waiting for darkness to take me up, up, and away. I stare down at the water below, wetness brimming behind blue eyes.
The cheesecake moon is reflected upon the rippling surface below, stars in the sky dusting the water like sprinkles. It’s so far down.
The river will feel like concrete, I suppose. Will they find my body, mangled and broken, upon the surface? Or will I slide beneath the crystalline sheen to the depths of the muddy water below?
The wind picks up so violently and wraps me in its sharp claws. The trees start to shake, golden leaves rustling and swirling as the grass blades begin to quiver.
It’s so strange how I notice the details when nothing matters anymore. Nothing. Matters.
I place my hands upon the concrete ledge and hoist myself to my knees. It’s raining now, silver droplets falling so sharp and angry from the clouds. They sting my skin like a thousand needles.
What I feel now… it’s not a feeling at all. It’s just empty. It’s nothing. But why, then, are there tears on my cheeks? The water will wash them away- wash away the last trace of any guilt or remorse that I refuse to allow myself to feel.
It’s so windy. Should I jump, or should I just let myself fall?
A bird chirps somewhere in the near distance, calling to me. Urging me. I stand up slowly, teetering slightly on the thin concrete ledge. I spread my arms.
Watch me fly.
Your parents told me about the night you spent on the ledge of the Charlicotte Bridge. What was that like?
It was cold outside, but I remember that I felt so warm. I was crying, but I wasn’t sad. Trembling but not scared. I was just there. I was ready to jump- I swear I was going to jump. But then Remy stepped from the shadows, and she had tears in her eyes. Her eyes were glittering like diamonds. I’ll never forget that. I thought she was my imagination, but when she spoke… it was her. My Remy, my angel, rescuing me once again.
And she said I was crazy.
What happened then?
She climbed up and sat with me. She held my hand until dawn, and, when she finally let go, it was numb from her squeezing so hard. I think she thought that if she let go, I would fall. Silence. I look up. She said that it hurt real bad knowing I could leave her without even saying goodbye. I told her that I wouldn’t be leaving her so much as I’d be waiting for her. She asked why I hadn’t left her a note. I put my hand on her heart, so that I could feel it beating. And I said that I’d rather have her remember me in there, as I was in her heart, than as some words scrawled across a sheet of paper.
The rest of the night panned out in slow motion. The memories are so murky, enveloped in a smoky, dreamlike haze, and yet some parts are so clear I feel as though I’ve lived it twice.
Whereas my legs dangled over the concrete ledge, bare feet suspended over the gushing water, Remy sat restricted, legs folded tightly beneath her. I wiped her tears with the sleeve of my t-shirt, and I held on to her tightly. I imagined her fragile bones churning to powder.
She was livid.
“I can’t believe you,” she said, new tears extinguishing the old. “I can’t believe you would do this to me. Could you be anymore damn selfish?”
“I’m sorry,” I mumbled, staring out at the dark forest, wondering what kinds of
venomous creatures were lurking in the shadows. The trees were outlined in black, their pointed tips piercing the navy sky.
“Sorry isn’t good enough. Sorry doesn’t justify almost killing yourself. Sorry is an excuse.” Remy raised her eyes to mine. “We are beyond sorry.”
I didn’t say anything for the longest time, afraid of trusting my own voice. I didn’t feel anything. I peeled off my sweatshirt and gave it to her. She sat shivering. I sat still.
It must have been an hour before either of us moved. I was in a trance-like state, my senses sharpened but my mind blurred. I focused only on the girl beside me. I focused on her breathing, ragged and yet exactly in sync with mine.
“I love you.”
She didn’t respond.
“What? What, Drew?” She was crying again. “Tell me why. Please. Help me to understand.”
She wiped a solitary tear from my stained face. “I don’t know,” I whispered. “I really don’t know.”
Remy ran her fingers down my arm, stopping with two fingers parallel to my wrist. She closed her eyes, lips moving as she counted my pulse. And when she was done, she opened her eyes and she kissed my cheek.
“You, love, are very much alive,” she told me. “And when you’ve got someone who can hardly breathe without you, life becomes something worth fighting for.”
She wrapped her arms around my waist and pulled me close, carefully, and I could feel her warmth for the first time in ages.
“Promise me you’ll try,” she said, her voice soft and desperate.
I looked into her eyes and I saw something that I hadn’t seen in a while. I didn’t know what it was; whether it was anger or sorrow or complicity or love.
I raised my face to the blackened sky. I opened my mouth. “I promise I’ll try.”