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Saving Walter Shatitio
I didn't notice who was up on the roof at first. I figured it was just another worker checking the shingles, or marking where they had to fix a leak in one of the upper level classrooms.
I was truly only up there because my art teacher let us wander the school grounds during that period, and I (usually without permission) go up the emergency stairway and onto the roof.
While watching this person up on the roof beams, pacing as it almost looked like, a small sketch appeared almost unconsciously onto my notepad. Art came almost too easily to me, and I was used to my solitary environment, causing such creativity to slip out of me unknowingly to my clear mind.
It only took me a while to match the person to the name, however.
I slowly got up, still being unseen by the stairway building, and inched around to the beam closest to the edge. Conveniently, he was on the same beam, but about ten yards away, and bending over to look at the fall down.
It suddenly clicked in my mind.
Walter Shatitio was planning to jump.
My mind started to speed my heart faster, and I could feel my face tighten in fear for him and empathy for what could cause him to do this. His jet black curls swayed with the breeze, and his Chucks that covered his feet were sliding on and off the metal on the end of the rooftop, tiptoeing slightly in place.
I then acted on my best impulse, or the most prominent one in my mind at the time.
I took a step forward, out of the shadowing I hide so quietly behind.
I waited for him to notice me standing there, but he didn’t even turn his head in the slightest. I walked closer towards him, staying where I was after I stood about ten feet from him. I opened my cold lips only a moment later.
“What are you doing?” I asked as feebly as possible, almost afraid he would jump right after I spoke.
Slowly, his head turned to me, and for maybe five minutes, we just stood there, staring at one another. I easily took note at how his eyes were a deep brown hazel, turning into gold as you looked around the edges.
It was his moment to speak next.
“What are you doing?” He asked, just as surprised to see someone up here like I was.
“I-I always come up h-here, during m-my art period.” I stammered, intimidated at how much taller he was compared to my meek 4’11”. “But why are you up here? I’ve never seen you up on top before.”
He grew quiet. Then he moved a little closer towards me, until we were only five feet apart. “I came up here to think, and maybe…”
I got animated into making him tell what he might have come here to do. “Maybe what?”
Walter just looked down. “Maybe end it all from here.”
I kept looking at him. “Why?”
He carried on with his explanation, “It just is difficult. My parents don’t see who I really am, and they treat me like dirt.”
My feet walked closer to him, and I reluctantly followed. I really had no need to be in his business. Some voice, though, told me to be compassionate with him, and be patient.
“Do they hurt you?” I murmured, just loud enough for him to hear.
He shrugged. “Sometimes, but mostly they don’t acknowledge my whole existence. Also, I never got to know your name.”
I laughed a little in my head. I knew him, he was well known in my school, but I never found out why.
“I’m Adeline. Or Addie, for short.” I said, almost proud of the words coming out of me.
He smiled. “Thanks, Addie. You probably saved me.”
That threw me totally off. “How?” I asked, truly asking that. I didn’t do anything extraordinary for him, I just talked to him.
“You actually talked to me like you cared, like you saw purpose in me. You made me feel like I have reason, just by letting b tell you why I wanted out. Now, I don’t feel the need.” His eyes shone, as if I had just given him a great gift he would never return.
“Well then, your welcome,” I spoke softly to him, and then walked the other direction.
“So I’ll see you around?” He called after me.
I waved my hand in his direction. “Maybe!” I called back.
But, you see, I never saw Walter Shatitio again.