Christian Droulers

Agile and flexible programmer

Life isn’t everything

This man wasn’t any different from any other person in the city. He had grown up in a small average neighbourhood, had average friends, and after going through an average college, he found an average job. During the time he worked, he met an average women, had average kids and was now living his average routine like every other person he knew. The one thing that he liked to think he did that made him different was that he loved to escape reality by laying on his office’s building’s rooftop’s side. But today hadn’t started the average way: his average car had broken down on the way to work and he had gotten in late for the first time ever. He had to listen to his boss blabbering about excuses and duties for fifteen minutes. Then, when lunch finally arrived, he rushed up the metallic emergency stairs all the way to the rooftop. As he touched the knob, he knew something was wrong. It wasn’t shut right. He pushed it out and saw a young girl, no more than twenty years‒old, laying on the side of the wall, close to a twelve story free‒fall.

‒ You like to escape reality as well, huh? the man asked.

‒ I wish… the girl let out with a sad voice, I wish I could just brush it away like that.

The weight in the man’s stomach had just gotten heavier, he had felt it since the car break down, and it sank with his boss… It had just hit the bottom, a sad girl that squatted his spot. He went to sit by the girl, not sure what to do or say, his legs tangling over a deadly fall.

‒ What? What are you talking about? he asked.

The girl sat up and rested her forehead on her knees. The man could see her shoulders shudder and could hear slow weeps.

‒ Oh my, he said, What’s wrong?

She lifted her hands to her face and literally screamed.

‒ Life sucks! I don’t want to live anymore, I cannot live without them!

The man had never imagined something like this could actually happen to him. He could not conceive it was really happening, right now. He did not know what to do, what to say, and he didn’t want to know, it wasn’t his problem, he only wanted to relax and he had to meet her. Should he go back and tell the police to help the girl? Should he talk to her, try to convince her to stay alive? While he tried to unscramble these thoughts in his mind, the girl wept. He just sat there, staring at the adjacent building. The girl took the silence in and thought the man wanted to listen to her, though she didn’t care, she felt good that someone could listen to her.

‒ I just lost my boyfriend… she said slowly, Along with my three true real friends.

‒ And that’s a reason to stop living, asked the man without thinking about her current state of mind. You can still go on living and making new friends.

‒ Yes I know I can, but I cannot live with four lives’ worth a burden on my back until I die. I was the one driving the stupid car.

Tears started slowly flowing down her cheeks.

The man could not answer… He had nothing to reply. “What is there to reply?” he thought. “I should walk away, get away from trouble.” He wanted to but couldn’t. He just could not will his body away, either because he was afraid of the girl’s reaction or just because he felt bad for her didn’t matter, he had to stay.

‒ Can you tell me what happened? he asked the girl, while he tried to keep his mind straight.

‒ We were going to my parent’s chalet for the weekend, she said, My only three real friends were with me, Alisha, Sophia, Steve, along with my boyfriend, Patrick. My mom had let us loose for the weekend, we had her car and a chalet for ourselves, we were so excited about it!

The man discerned a little bit of joy in those words.

‒ I know it will seem stupid but my mom’s car ain’t no little car, it’s… Well it was, since it’s completely screwed up now… it was an Acura RSX. The guys pressured me to hit the gas. I was reticent at first but after a little while, they got me. They were like “oh come on, it a flat straightaway and there’s no one to be seen on the horizon, come on, it’ll be fun”.

Tears pearled at the corner of her eyes.

‒ I should have never listened to them, she cried, I should have sticked to my geeky uncool personality and not gone fast! I never drove fast before, it had to be then…

As the tears slowly rolled down her cheeks, she wept some more. The man was wordless, neither could he grasp the fact in front of him, nor could he make any judgement on what she did.

‒ It wasn’t your fault, he stammered.

‒ How can you be the judge of that? You weren’t there, you aren’t God or anything, and just why the hell am I telling you all of this? I didn’t ask you nothing, I just want to die, life always sucked for me.

‒ Don’t say that, the man replied, we wouldn’t be alive if only evil would rule.

‒ Yeah and if Bush really were a dumbass, he wouldn’t be president, yeah I’ve heard all about the “optimism” thing, now leave me alone.

Once again, he had been shot down. His arguments were out. But why did he care anyway, she could jump, it wouldn’t change his life. Was it just because he was human? That he had a heart? Or just a simple little voice inside him that told him to help the poor girl. He did not think further as the girl kept on talking. Maybe she wanted to spill her guts out before squishing them down on the sidewalk.

‒ The day you’re born, she said, you’re doomed. No one escapes it. We’re all gonna die, after working so hard at screwing others over, killing innocents, or at least encouraging such massacres, destroying the environment, all for a slow painful and boring death that will be 20 years long, thanks to our “great medication”, while we’re just becoming more and more vegetable, decomposing. Tell me mister, what’s the point of a human life? Don’t you go and tell me happiness, cause no one is really happy, no one dies happy and no one is happy about death. But why can’t we be like other animals? Why do we have to pretend that we are different, that we are smarter? Why can’t we live with only what nature gave us, not create crap to make our lives “easier”. We could die without anticipating it. A mouse doesn’t know when that owl is gonna chop his head off! We wouldn’t need to worry about being killed by some dumb person in the streets! Why do we not kill ourselves right away, we’re not getting anything out of life! We’re all going to die anyway. We’re all going to die…

The last sentence was dropped low. It hit the man straight in the face, he had never even imagined that someone could think that way, he lived in his own world where everything was perfect, like everyone else in the world.

‒ It just seems hard for you to understand what I’m feeling right now… she said, Can you imagine how it must feel to be me?

‒ It must be awful, the man let out.

‒ I can still hear my friends screaming, I can still see their faces full of fear as the car rolled around. I can still see their eyes as I crawled to them, begging for an answer. But they just layed there, lifeless, and it’s all because of me!

‒ How did you lose control?

‒ There was a bump in the road, it might not seem to be enough, but when you’re riding 220 km/h, it’s enough to get my muscles to crisp and I hit the brakes real hard. So the car slid sideways and hit the ditch which made it tip over. I can’t remember anything until after it’s over and my friends are laying all over the place.

Tears burst out of her green eyes once again and she grasped her face in her shaking hands.

‒ Why are you making me go through this again? she screamed.

‒ But I didn’t…

She cut him short.

‒ Shut up, just shut up. Don’t say anything more!

‒ It just was not your fault, he said.

‒ Have you ever really thought that what you think might not be the truth, that it might not be what life really is? Do you think you could live with four families hating you because you’re alive, a whole school which looks at you in a weird way? D you know what it is to have seen the four dearest person to you die in front of you? Tell me!

‒ I don’t know… But it’s not a reason to go on killing yourself, you can go on wi…

Once again, he could not finish his sentence.

‒ Do I want to go on is the damn question! Maybe I want to die, maybe I can’t go on with such a burden on my back. And who asked you anyway, I should have not even talked to you and jumped a while ago. It would all be over. I’d join my friends, wherever they can be.

‒ Do you think they’d want that? asked the man, mad because she didn’t seem to listen, Do you think they’d want you to die, or do you think they’d want you to go on and be happy?

‒ I don’t give a shit about what they want, I want to die, I want to see them and ask forgiveness. I can’t live with them on my mind…

Before the man could reply, she continued.

‒ No it wouldn’t disappear over time. I will always remember their livid faces as they layed around me… I’m sorry sir, but you can’t help me, my decision was made on that day.

‒ Call me Gabriel.

He swung his legs around and got to his feet onto the roof. He strolled toward the door.

‒ I’m Madeleine… she replied.

‒ I’ll remember it. See you when I’ll be dead, I’ll tell you all about my beautiful life, you’ll see that life doesn’t suck all that much.

Without letting her time to say something, he shut the door behind him. From that day on, Gabriel never lived a day that looked the same as the last one. The girl got up on her feet and whispered softly to the wind: “Thank you Gabriel, I will never forget you.” She spread her arms and let gravity pull her down. While she fell, thousands of voices reached her ears, softly consoling her, telling her she’ll be fine, that she mustn’t be scared. She could feel her whole body warm up as she smiled and finally, her soul left her body as the latter crashed, head first on the sidewalk.

Not everyone can be a hero, but some people can still be our angels.

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