Sometimes you really wish you could be a bad person.
Okay, well. Maybe not a bad person per se, just a less good one then you are now.
Correction: you wish you had less morals. You wish you could be one of the ignorant masses and just turn a blind eye and just go to school and not be late and hand in your stupid book report that you put way too much work in just because you know it will make the teacher work harder.
You wish you could just keep walking.
You wish you could have ignored that overzealous lady as she screamed and pointed to the building.
You wish your heart hadn't stuttered and stopped dead as you stared up at him.
stupid stupid stupid
"Hi Mrs.." you glance at the name plate, "Anders. This is... Heather from just below? I left my keys in the flat and I was wondering if you could buzz me in?"
There's a muffled reply but the door lets out this angry vibration, you swing it open and before you know it you're running again.
The phone rings.
pick up pick up pick up
"Mother I need you to call my school and tell them that I'm going to be a bit late- maybe a lot late I'm not sure how long this will take." Three, four.
She makes some unintelligible grunt and you can imagine her sitting up, wincing and rubbing at her face. "Late? Rosey what are you doing?"
"Sorry, something dire came up and I must attend to it." Seven, eight. "I shall inform you of how it goes once I know of the outcome."
She hums. "'Kay Rosey, you go get ‘em." The line clicks off.
Eleven, twelve, thirteen.
How many stupid floors are there?
It's not till the fifteenth floor that you run out of stairs.
Where is it where is it where is it?
The door to the roof is slightly ajar.
It's bright outside- the building having been poorly lite- you squint.
He's still here.
You allow yourself to breath.
He's still here.
"You know," he jumps slightly, gripping at the chain-link fence (you can't help but notice that he's on the wrong side) and turns to glance at you, "when questioned about it later, all suicide survivors who have chosen to jump recall changing their minds halfway through."
He tells you to fuck off.
You shrug (can't act too invested have to make him change his own mind) "I just thought I would inform you. I actually found it rather interesting."
He huffs and turns back around.
His hair is blonde and short, much like your own. He's wearing a pair of aviators and is shaking like an addict in withdrawals.
"Rather chilly, isn't it?" You offer.
He turns to glare at you again (or at least you assume he's glaring), "Look, thanks or whatever but whatever you're doing won't do anything. So just fuck off okay?"
You’re breathing heavy- air coming out in huffs as you rest one hand against a the bricks. (don’t approach don’t make sudden movements)
“I just always figured, if it was me I’d want to know the statistics.”
He seems to sort of groan, “Well I’m not you. And I don’t think I’d want to be- especially if this is your pitch for getting a man off a ledge- news flash sweetheart- it ain’t workin’.”
You purse your lips. “How would you know? What if I haven’t even started my pitch yet? You shouldn’t just assume things you know, you know what they say about that.”
He lets out a breathy laugh, hands gripping the fence tight. (he’s nervous) “Alright then, shoot.” He glances back at you.
You should probably say something about now shouldn’t you?
“It’s probably not as bad as it seems?” You try, which is an instant failure seeing as he scoffs at you.
“Oh yes. I am just some dramatic teenager- I don’t even know what real problems are. Tommy didn’t call me last night so I think I’ll just off myself- he obviously doesn’t love me- nobody loves me. Everybody hates me, guess I’ll go jump off a fucking ledge.”
Interesting. “It may say something about your psyche seeing as you used an example of a male as your significant other.” It’s out your mouth before you even catch what you're saying.
You mentally curse yourself.
“Oh my god,” he breaths, “Just because I’m trying to kill myself- that automatically makes me gay?”
“Are you?” You should really shut up now. “It’s fine if you are. There is nothing wrong with being a homosexual. If you feel that perhaps-”
“Ohmygod just shut up. Do you ever stop talking? Or is it just a thing you do to try and get in peoples heads?”
“I tend to ramble when I’m flustered, I apologize. I shall try to get it under control.”
He scoffs at you again, “Why the fuck would you be flustered? I’m the one on the edge here. Edge of glory and all, hanging on this moment with you.”
You just stare at him.
“Look,” he says, “could you just go, maybe? You’re kind of making this awkward.”
You narrow your eyes at him. “I’m making this awkward? Sorry, but I’m not the one about to jump to their death.”
He fidgets at that. “You’re right- I am. And you’re actually kind of distracting me so if you don’t mind-” he’s turning back around nonononononono what do you do-
“Have you ever had boba tea?”
It comes out rushed and what the heck, where did that even come from?
He looks back at you again.
Well, you’re already screwed might as well see where this gets you. “Boba tea. Have you ever had any?”
He stares at you. “No. I haven’t had ‘boba tea’ whatever the fuck that is. Now would you please-”
“You should.” He stops talking. “I would treat you. There’s an Alternative Fuel just down the street. Come and have some with me. And if afterwards you still want to- want to- I won’t stop you or whatever. I’ll just go to school and forget this ever happened.”
He’s fidgeting again. “Look- I don’t-”
He’s looking awkward again, and seems to grimace. “You’re not going to leave unless I say yes, are you?”
You shake your head, “I’m afraid not. so you can either let me buy you a beverage or you can risk scaring me for life. Imagine all the psychiatry appointments and therapists I’ll have to go through. Because, Mrs. Addams, that boy jumped right in front of me. I couldn’t do anything. I watched as his body hit the pavement- there was just so much blood.”
You trying to have a joking tone but as you ramble you start to freak yourself out a little bit.
The boy chews on his lip. Dreadful habit. “Just one drink. And then you’ll leave me alone.”
You’ve got him.
You nod and place your fiddling hands behind your back. “That’s the deal.” You say, “If I can’t convince you otherwise than your certain death I will simply walk away.”
He sighs and seems to deflate. “Yeah, whatever. Just- give me a minute.”
He clambers his way back over the fence and your heart only stops a few times.
And then he’s standing in front of you. He’s about a head taller and you take the time to notice that he isn’t wearing any shoes.
You stare pointedly at his feet.
He shifts uncomfortably, “You know, when you’re about to off yourself shoes aren’t really at the top of the to-do list. You should be thankful that I even got dressed for the occasion.”
“I always thought I’d wear a dress.” You say, then beckon him to follow you back to the stairs. You do not ask him if he’s going to put on shoes- you’ll let it go this once.
You watch to make sure he’s actually going to follow you and he does, holding the door open for you and everything.
What a gentleman.
Once you are both back inside the building and squinting again in the low light he turns to look down at you. “A dress for what?”
You shrug and make your way down the stairs, you probably shouldn’t have said that. “For jumping. I thought it would be rather elegant.”
He scrunches up his nose, “Jumping to you death, elegant?”
You really shouldn’t have said anything. “I would wear a billowy one. In the air it would pose as my wings- as my acceptance to the afterlife.” He’s still giving you that look that people give you when you talk about death in a glorified manner.
It’s not that you glorify death- it’s just that you’ve never felt the need to brush over it and treat it like the taboo that everyone else seems to.
“Ophelia,” you say, as he has just shaken his head and seemed to accept what you said, “from the play Hamlet, drown herself after going mad due to the death of her father. Of course the suicide aspect is still speculation. When you wear large dresses, as they would have in that time, or even clothes for that matter, they fill with water and aid in your sinking. You would go down looking much like a mermaid or a flower and I think that would be rather beautiful.”
His mouth is open now and he just stares at you, a few steps up. “You’re fuckin’ weird.” He manages, and you shrug again.
“Do you suppose we should go out a back way to avoid the masses? I suspect they have called the police by now.”
He nods and then goes to take the lead, apparently deciding not to comment on anything you’ve said.
He takes you through an apartment a few levels down that is messy beyond all belief. Phallic plushies cluttered on the floors and surfaces, empty pizza boxes and assorted blades peek out from every crook and nanny.
“Pleasant,” you say and he whips around to (presumably) glare at you.
“Not a word.” he bites, and you pantomime zipping up your mouth and locking it.
You keep the key in your hand.
Out a window and down a fire escape and then you’re in a back alley.
You manage to slip past the throng that is clustered at the foot of the apartment building, there are indeed cop cars and they have a large megaphone with which they are using to shout up at the empty roof.
As you walk down the street away from the mob it’s hard to not notice the varying speeds in your steps.
He will fall behind then take a few large steps to catch up, slow down with almost-shuffles, then catch up again.
He doesn’t know how to walk next to people.
“Rose,” you tell him as you both j-walk across the street towards the coffee house, he turns and raises an eyebrow just-so over the frames of his dark glasses.
“My name, it’s Rose.”
He shrugs, “I don’t care what your name it. It won’t really matter soon anyway. So whatever.”
“We’ll see.” You hold the door open for him and he scoffs at you but enters.
The coffee shop is a quaint little place that, while still being a franchise, isn’t nearly as big a deal as Starbucks or something.
The barista smiles as you approach the counter. “Welcome! What can I get for you?”
“Two medium boba teas,” you say, “one strawberry and one-” you turn to look at your companion who blatantly did not give you his name.
He shifts awkwardly with both of your eyes on him, “uh, do you guys have apple?”
She beams, “we do! I’ll get that right out for you guys! You total will be seven forty eight.”
His hand twitches and he reaches for his pocket but you already have a ten on hand and pass it over.
She gives you your change and your ticket and you usher him to a corner table.
“So,” you start and he appears to go tense at that word alone.
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
You shrug and fold your hands atop the table, “fair enough.”
You stare him down as he avoids looking at you at all, instead choosing to study the table, the chair, the floor, the pictures on the wall.
“I attend Scratch’s Academy for Young Girls, year eleven.” He visibly jumps then stares at you.
“Okay.” he says, and he might be squinting at you, if the tenseness in his face and creases in his forehead are anything to go by. “Must be pretty sweet if you're a lesbian.”
You give him a dry smile, “yes, I must agree.”
His mouth opens and closes, “you’re-”
“I am sixteen, I aspire to be a renowned psychologist and I have already been accepted to several out of state universities, full rides and all.”
His mind seems to be working over time as he processes the lesbian thing in the back of his head and moves on to the college thing, “uh, great for you? So you have a life waiting for you, thanks for gloating. If this is another one of those ‘you can’t get anywhere if you don’t work hard, hard work and ambition are all you need’ talks, then just cut the crap because I don’t want to fucking hear it.”
“No,” you say slowly, “this is one of those ‘hard work may or may not help academically depending on your person but taking in account your family and school situation you may always be alone no matter what you do because sometimes there is nothing you can do and it’s not even your fault’ talks.”
He plays his part of ‘fish-out-of-water’ quite well.
You continue, “My closest friend lives in Colorado and is an angry Latino of whom I met on a forum that focuses on the psychology of relationships. My mother, as adoring as she is, is a drunkard and is passed out more often than not. Life isn’t fair, life sucks. People are terrible, awful human beings, and you can’t change them. So you have to change yourself if you ever want to get anything done.”
He seems almost taken aback.
Your drinks are called and you get up to retrieve them, as you set them on the table you say, “and that’s what I want to do, I want to help people change themselves.”
He readjusted in his seat and reaches for his drink, taking a sip.
“Woah,” he says, and looks down at the drink in his hand. “That's- what are those?”
“Those,” you say after you take a drink as well, “are tapioca.”
“What,” he asks, “really?”
“Why the fuck would someone put tapioca in a drink?”
“Is it good?” You ask.
He chews on his bottom lip and takes another drink, “yeah.”
“Then there’s your answer. It’s a Taiwanese tea-based drink, one of my favorites actually. Are you a tea person?”
“Nah,” he shakes his head, “I’m more of a coffee person myself.”
He’s gone tense again you notice, his gaze locked in your direction. “What?” he demands.
“Sorry,” you say, “it’s nothing.”
He sets his drink down and gives you what you assume he means to be a level look, his sunglasses sort of ruin the effect. You’re not sure if they’re supposed to be intimidating or used as a sort of shield against the world but you find them rather ridiculous. “No, I want to know. Tell me.”
You shift in your seat and set your cup down. “Just so you know it’s not a down-right science and is mostly mere speculation and statistics.” He gestures for you to continue, “tea versus coffee people is quite the interesting debate. Also with stereotypes, if you drink tea it is usually to calm down, and many view tea drinkers to be more sophisticated. Coffee, generally, is drunk as an awakening agent, or perhaps because one is addicted to caffeine- it is a drug you know- and therefore cannot function without it. If you are a ‘coffee person’ that could indicate that you are a restless sleeper, or even that you don’t sleep much. This could be due to stress or anxiety, both of which can be factors of depression which, ah, can lead to suicidal thoughts.”
He’s just staring at you again, you really wish he would stop that, it is very impolite. He purses his lips.
“Sorry,” you say, rushed, “I do this to everyone, not just- not just because of these circumstances. It’s a bad habit I seem to have gotten myself into. I can’t have a simple conversation without trying to analyze someone.”
He shifts and you’re both quiet again.
After a time, when you are both over halfway through your drinks, he speaks up. “Rose?”
You glance over at him, “yes?”
“You said-” he takes a breath, “you said that you have to be the one to change, you can’t try to make other people around you change.”
You nod, “I did indeed.”
“You also said that you wanted to help people change themselves.”
You bite your cheek and nod again.
“Would you- uh, maybe, help me change?”
You look down at your drink, “I’m not a professional-”
“I know. I- I’ve tried so-called ‘professionals’ and they don’t- you’ve done more just talking to me than they ever did.”
You smile down at your drink, “maybe it was just the tea.”
He shakes his head, “no, it was definitely you, Rose. I- maybe I could be your first test subject or something?”
“I could, try, I suppose.” You swirl the glass.
He nods, “yeah, that’d be great, thanks.”
“On one condition.”
And now he looks nervous again. “What would that be?”
“Well, you can’t really be my patient if I don’t know your name now can you?”
He’s either trying not to smile or really has to go.
You think he might roll his eyes.
“Dave.” he tells you.
You take another sip from your tea and smile up at him, “well Dave, it’ll be a pleasure working with you.”