You Don’t Go Skydiving This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 30, 2012
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You're on the roof. The apartment building's owned by a Jewish man. When you first moved in, you couldn't figure out how to open the front door with the key they gave you. You fumbled with stiff fingers in the cold. The woman inside at the front desk watched you through the glass door. The man emerged from the elevator. He was handsome and wearing a yarmulke. He opened the front door for you, smiled as you passed him. The smile meant nothing, but you remember it.

You don't know his name.

He told it to you. When you signed your lease, he told it to you. You don't know it.

You're walking to the edge. You step onto the parapet, precarious and swaying, on a tightrope of brick. You look down and the view doesn't make you sick. You can't remember how many floors there are to your apartment building, only that you live on floor three and you've never been on the roof before this. You were invited to the roof once. For a barbecue. You didn't go.

Your mother has just died. That's why you're doing this. No, no. Not because her death has made you sad. You knew that if you flung yourself off a building while she was alive she would be … You never decided what she'd be, exactly, but she'd be some type of unhappy. You're almost certain she would be unhappy. But she's gone now. You're done contemplating and you feel very sure about this.

You throw yourself off the building.

It's more of a tilt, to be precise. You tilt forward until there's nothing under you, and for a moment your body threatens to fall feet-first, which would just be stupid, but then your body lurches forward and you're going headfirst.

You're plummeting down, coat rippling against the icy wind, limbs sprawled. Jorge Borges' voice – you don't know his actual voice, but your imagination's made you one that fits nicely – fills your head, and he's saying something about death being a great relief. He said that once. At least you think he did. In an interview.

The air is icy, and it's the first real thing you've felt in a long time – in years, decades, since you were a child, since before that night ….

No, no. You're no tragic hero, sorry. You don't have one trauma-filled night of your past that haunts you, making you into some sexy enigma. It was just the night you realized that you didn't want to live here after all, in this world, and you'd like to live somewhere else. You were ­fourteen. You've tried explaining this to people, but they never understood. What happened to trigger such thoughts? they sometimes asked, or, if they didn't ask, you could hear them asking anyway. What happened? What happened? Nothing ­happened.

Cold air pricks your skin, and you've been falling for so long, suspended in this state of plummeting between the asphalt and the sky. People might be watching, but you can't crane your neck to see: the force of the wind is too strong. You try anyway, and the furthest you get is looking straight down, and it's hard to open your eyes, your eyelids are flapping and you manage to part them a sliver, and the wind is filling you right up, right up, you're a balloon, you're inflated, you're …



Time is so slow, hugging you tight like it doesn't want to release you. You like those arms around you – how did you never notice them before?



Ecstasy fills you.

I've never gone skydiving. The thought flits through your mind. Skydiving sounds nice. At the top of that building, before you tilted off, you thought you had sucked the marrow out of life. Every emotion that could be experienced, you'd felt. Every physical reaction, every event worth living, everything a human being could do – you had done it. But you'd forgotten about skydiving. You hadn't – you hadn't thought about skydiving.

You scream. You push at the air, looking for something to cling to, but the only thing that can catch you is the asphalt, and that's not what you want. You want to stop – stop! You want to go skydiving! How could you die before going skydiving? You're blind with panic, and the ecstasy's gone. The depression, too, but this is worse. You're screaming. The world is a neutral spectator, and you can feel it pausing as it watches, its eyes following you on your unwilling way down. You're screaming.

Gravity scrambles to scoop you up and toss you onto that roof again, and Time gives you all it has, but it's not enough, and you don't go skydiving.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 15 comments. Post your own now!

hawaiianbeluga said...
Sept. 30, 2013 at 10:26 pm
Such a beautiful and deep piece! Great job!
bofobob said...
Sept. 29, 2013 at 2:32 pm
Oh my gosh... that was amazing. You are very talented.
Brezzybri said...
Sept. 29, 2013 at 12:35 am
This is incredable..I am about to cry over here. Dude! You are so talented! Oh my word! Wow. this is perfect. I'm gunna die.
DreamWeaver said...
Sept. 27, 2013 at 4:01 pm
This piece is beautiful. I loved it. 
l0velife said...
Sept. 26, 2013 at 8:14 pm
Powerful, thrilling, and compelling. Keep writing! 
RelativetoWriting This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 26, 2013 at 3:49 pm
I saw this in the magazine, and now I've found it online! This piece is touching. Thanks for writing. 
Wanimwa said...
Sept. 18, 2013 at 9:59 am
It‘s well written, and the subject is of course very real, and I think you handle that quite well. I'm not a big fan of writing in 2nd person perspective, but it didn't really bother me while reading, so great job. 
TargonTheDragon said...
Sept. 15, 2013 at 4:08 pm
wow.  dang. i dont know what to say.  that was soo powerful.  like, really powerful. i approve. :)
NataleeIrene This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 14, 2013 at 1:49 pm
OH MY GOD! That has got to be the best story I have read in such a long time. It was so chilling and beautifully executed. Amazing! And I loved the use of second person. It really drew me in, made me feel as if was the person falling. Keep up the good work!
novella said...
Sept. 7, 2013 at 7:20 pm
This is amazing.  You pulled off second person so flawlessly I didn't even register you'd written it in second person until I saw another comment.  It's a brilliantly-executed story!
GleekGamer This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 6, 2013 at 12:21 pm
Very well done! It's so hard to pull off writing in second person, but you executed it flawlessly. I commend your work!
ramfthomas4 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 4, 2013 at 10:26 am
applause, applause!  very good job.
KeepLiving said...
Sept. 2, 2013 at 2:34 pm
This is absolutely wonderful. Exremely sad, but a beautiful depiction. 
WonTonFred1 said...
Sept. 1, 2013 at 10:18 am
Very well done madame!
Jessica. said...
Feb. 7, 2012 at 9:00 pm
Breath taking. Just so amazing . Gosh I loved it so much!!! This should be published! Damn, this is so good, there aren't even any words for it
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