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Happy New Year
I’m stood on the ledge looking down into the bright and crowded square, the lions can have me now. I hang tight to a nearby gargoyle and stare down, surveying the concrete jungle beneath my feet. My toes curl down the tips of my shoes, gripping the ledge ever tighter. I think I spot someone I know and contemplate whether or not this is the best idea. Perhaps it all started with the kiss. But it was only a kiss.
My phone rings and I answer it without looking at who’s calling,
â€˜Hello?’ I say, the wind unbalancing me for a few seconds, I can’t hear anything other than soft and slow breathing.
â€˜Hello!’ I shout, this time louder, more desperate, my voice choked by the danger facing me below. The caller hangs up. I check the number. Private. I get a text
â€˜I want to save you.’
But I don’t know who this is from either. I decide to sit down and watch the night progress. I don’t know the actual time but it can’t be that late. The harsh winter winds sting my lips and I wish I’d brought a scarf with me. I hear laughter from down below, a voice that’s almost familiar. But it might just be the shot of whiskey I had earlier, I look at the text again and wonder if anyone knows I’m here. Whether or not it’s from the same person who rang me just seconds before. I feel a little bit faint and my vision goes fuzzy for a fraction of a second. I look at the skyline, illuminated by the still-up Christmas decorations and big wheel in the centre of the square. I hear a police car in the distance. We dance to the sound of sirens.
I take my phone out of my pocket again and try to ring Jess, but there’s no signal. I find a letter I wrote to her in my pocket and open it clumsily. My fingers feel non existent in the harsh temperature of December. I see a firework go up in the distance. Happy F***ing New Year. I let the envelope fly away with the wind, it was blank, untraceable. More fireworks go off, providing a mash up with the sirens I can hear in the distance, police cars racing through Nottingham. It wouldn’t be night time without them. I stare down at the people in the square, blissfully unaware of the war going on inside my head. I try to shout out to them but the wind takes the sound from my voice as soon as I open my mouth. Lost in the night, ending up somewhere in Derby. I read the letter to myself.
I’m sorry for everything. You didn’t deserve it, it was a moment of weakness on my part, I treasure and adore your very existence, the ground you walk on. I miss you everyday, this life isn’t worth living without you by my side. I haven’t spoken to Amelia since that night. I’ve deleted her number, blocked her calls, everything could think of. Losing you was the last nail in the coffin of my life, everything’s gone.
All my love,
I let the letter fly away too, it means nothing to me anymore. All I have now are the birds gathering beside me on the ledge, the minutes ticking the day away on the clock above me. It won’t be light for about eight hours. A voice in my head tries to rationalise with me,
â€˜There’s more to life than one girl.’
It tells me but I don’t listen, I think about my past few months, the deaths, the affair, the job, Danny, and now Jess. I have nothing, just a bottle of whiskey hidden in my jacket pocket and the guilt of everything weighing down on my conscience, eating away at the remaining sanity I had left after twelve years of decadence. Was it all really worth it? I hear the voice again, sounding similar to my father, someone who died thirteen years ago; suicide. He sounds drunk but I can’t help but listen intently, the high altitude is affecting my head.
â€˜I’d take you seriously, father, if only you’d practiced what you’re preaching to me now.’ I say out loud and the voice fades away. More fireworks go off, accompanying the sirens and now the music down below, some band bringing in the New Year for everyone else. Cheers pierce my head and I stare down into the pit of life below, lights spin around below, I’m invisible to everyone down there, just how I like it.
The countdown nears and my legs are tired, my hands feel worn and weak on the cold stone. My lips are frozen and chapped and bitter. I go over the last few months again in my head, vivid images of each day race past my closed eyes, I notice little details I’d not realised at the time, small comments and reactions, I see every conversation from another perspective and relive the past few months all over again in a matter of seconds. I open my eyes, my head cleared. I feel cured and alive and positive. I scan the skyline again and the lights show me everything I need to know on this ledge. I no longer feel the harshness of the wind and the cold. I accept the loss and escape denial, feeling the warmth of the summer I’d missed rush over me in one redemptive realisation of self awareness. I hear a voice fading in the back of my mind. I don’t feel my foot slip from the ledge.