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Write it for Me, Will You?
The ledge seemed to tremble beneath her feet. If she fell, did she truly ever jump? This wouldn’t end ambiguously; she would be sure of that.
It’s a bad idea.
They’ll all miss you.
Who’s they? No one cares anymore.
Someone cares. Someone has to care.
Her mind seemed to toggle back and forth: to hold on or to let go? Why couldn’t she release the rope and tumble into the abyss, hopeful that something or someone would greet her eventually? Why wouldn’t her muscles let her?
Joey took a trembling step backward. The world swayed.
She had always wondered if she could get high enough, would she ever reach heaven? Would she ever reach high enough to see Dylan? All she wanted was a glimpse of him; was that too much to ask? He had died 4 years ago, and Joey had tried to climb high enough to see him ever since. The only problem was that she seemed to be climbing on a ladder of knives, every rung painful and slicing. With every fall, it seemed as though she had further to climb to reach the top.
Nothing was bearable anymore. Her ears rung with desire: her only motivator was reaching the top of her ladder of knives. She knew the pain was worth it. It will make sense in the end. Her mother had told her that when she read Paper Towns for the first time – it will make sense in the end. You have to finish the story. You can’t skip a chapter, gloss over a paragraph, drop the novel halfway through. It will make sense in the end.
She wanted to believe it, yet nothing seemed to make sense anymore. She wanted to throw her book against the wall. She wanted to rip up the pages, destroy the chapters, dissolve the hard work. She wanted to reach the end. Why was it so far away?
I won’t be missed. My book isn’t one they’ll read.
Everyone reads someone’s book.
You could be someone’s Hazel Grace Lancaster.
I’m no Hazel.
You know that.
Slumping against the concrete, Joey felt herself falling again. The vibrancy of life, the vivid movement of ordinary objects; all of it seemed to become diluted, disappearing, slipping between her fingers. Every time was an elevator ride: the ride down seemed to increase each time. It was as though the highest floor was accessible with a golden ticket, a single leap could take you there. She had tried to climb her way up the elevator but never seemed to reach the highest floor.
With each fall, her mother’s reminder rang like the vibrations of a gong inside her disintegrating mind. It will make sense in the end. Maybe this time she’d learn her lesson. Maybe she’d have a revelation and change the tide in this horrible game, find the button for the highest floor on her own, beat the never-ending ladder of knives.
It had been dark, the sun rising. The colors had been so beautiful. The sun had come up in a 24-karat golden glow, with rings of Santa Monica beach sand yellow and Wickham Farms pumpkin orange, highlighted against a Pacific Ocean blue sky.
It was lighter now. The clouds were a dark grey. A steel grey, a Bessemer steel grey – boring and monotonous, assembly line steel grey. The clouds coated the entire sky. They had appeared in a few short minutes – hours? – and brought desolation upon Joey.
Rain was coming. If a tree fell in the forest and no one was around to hear it, would it still make a sound? If she was gone before the rain came, would she still get wet?
It will make sense in the end. But this was her end. She didn’t feel like it made sense. She didn’t make sense. Could it still be an end? If it didn’t make sense, did that mean there was something waiting for her? An ending?
Joey didn’t want to write her ending. She wished someone would write an ending for her.
Let me be a storybook character.
Have someone else write my ending.
You want to go?
For once, she had no response to her own question. What was the harm in letting her ending be left to chance? Ambiguity was hope. She hadn’t wanted to leave without being sure that she was going, but now that she knew, the uncertainty gave her faith. Someone had to be there.
It might be Dylan. It might be some god. She wouldn’t know until she leaped into the unknown, across the chasm of insecurity, through the mist.
Droplets twinkled on her loose shirt. A light wind sailed around her bare bones: her craving for height had seemingly robbed her of any muscle or fat. She was a skeleton already – was there harm anymore?
There was no answer. It was haunting. Perhaps taunting. Could it be both? Her inner monologue had been silenced; was it mocking her choices or foretelling her soul’s disappearance?
Joey approached the edge yet again and stared down. The ground was directly below, not 5 stories, yet it felt miles away. A painless approach. A painful landing.
The sky was crying. At least the weather would mourn her. She wasn’t sure that anyone else would. Did it make sense? Was it terrible that she was praying for her leap to make no sense, that the loss of her soul would be senseless – vaguely reckless – so as to have a true ending in another life?
What if there was no other ending? What if this was it? If she left this building, her life was over?
She couldn’t allow herself to believe that. Something would be out there. It will make sense in the end. It didn’t make sense yet.
It would not be the end.
She took a foot off and tipped forward, plummeting towards the ground, drawing closer and closer until they were two best friends who were crammed up next to each other, something Joey had never had, and she relished in the pain that shattered her brain that was breaking her into billions of fragments, each unlike the other, into small and unique pieces of herself, snowflakes of her life.
Infinite swallowed her, and as startlingly sudden as a child is born, newly alive in the world, she disappeared.