She had always been afraid of heights. She leaned over the balcony railing, pushing herself up with her hands so that her feet left the ground. She rocked slowly forward letting her eyes scan the cityscape. She remembered when the realtor had first showed her the apartment, he led her to the centre of the room and silently let her take in the view, nothing needed to be said, he knew it was the main selling points and details were superfluous. Her partner at the time insisted she take it, it was all part of the process, get an executive position, get the shiny new car, that hardly left the garage because the metro was quicker, and get the apartment with the amazing view. She held the obligatory cocktail parties, and quickly tired of the compliments about her place from vague acquaintances who didn’t know what else to say to her. She didn’t have people over anymore. She told herself it was because she was too busy, but she knew it was because she couldn’t risk being led close to the edge by a wandering talkers or a tipsy guests who eagerly wanted to share the experience of taking in the city with her. She prefered to keep her invisible boundary. She kept as close to the centre of the building as possible. She felt too venerable up here, as if ever imperceptible shudder of the earth reverberated up the spine of the building, she sensed it sway with every gust of wind. She would rather be on the ground floor, or even in the basement, firmly rooted in the earth.
But now she swung over the edge in total disregard. How easy it would be, she though, maybe that’s what she was afraid of all along, just how easy it would be, one swift motion, one push of her arms. How would it feel? Would it feel like flying or a fatal amusement park ride? She had heard it was the fall that killed you, not the impact, but still the thought of smacking the ground disturbed her. What kind of mess would she leave, especially from this height. She cringed at what the unsuspecting passersby below would encounter, what if she fell on one of them, had this ever happened? A suicide turning into an unintentional murder.
She thought of all the portrayals of people being talked down from ledges. How degrading suicide was. Couldn’t people do it quietly and with dignity, instead it was this big dramatic show, a cry for help, people begging someone to give them a reason why not, and in the end they return to their demeaning jobs, unappreciative family and crushing debt that was accumulated in a last-ditch resort, that if all else fails maybe they could buy a little happiness.
Her feet gently brushed the ground. How cliché it would be, she pictured her prescription filled medicine cabinet, her estranged family, her lacklustre love life and her now almost confirmed singledom. She could hear it now, ‘we never saw it coming, but doesn’t it just make sense.’
It seemed so natural for her to be up her now, the breeze toyed with her as she rocked on her toes, her body tilted forward.
The buzzer went, she gracefully lowered herself from her perch and went to the door, it was an automatic response, all her actions were automatic responses now. She opened the door to a handsome face perfectly paired with a smug smile.
“You’re not ready yet? The shows about to start.”
“Sorry, I got distracted, I’ll just be a minute. Come in.”
His overbearing presence filled the room and she sighed at the fact that she had agreed to spend the evening with him, but it was part of the role she was playing.
“Wow, what a view.”
“Hmm, oh thanks, I forget to notice it sometimes.”