There he sits. Sagging to the ledge. The weight of his trouble cements him 12 stories up a 100 year old building. He sighs a heavy sigh as his feet dangle over the edge.
A woman’s voice speaks to him from the left. “It’s a lousy place to think you know, this high up I mean”
He turns his head towards her. He looks down at her legs to avoid eye contact. He thinks to himself.
Heh A skirt? Figures, only a dame crazy enough to wear a skirt on a cold, cloudy day like now would have the nerve to be up here talking to a sap like me.
“How you figure?” He says turning his head forward to the gloomy urban landscape.
“Well, the smog in this God awful city first off. It rises. You got two lungs filled with that shit right now. You probably have a headache from it. Do you have a headache? I got pills. Red and blue.”
“If only it was that easy”
She looks at him with a sarcastic smile. “Well it is, I have’ em right here in my purse.” She opens her blue clutch bag and begins the rummage.
“The answer I mean. To think answer to my ailments can be simplified with one choice…red or blue.”
She looks into her purse and sighs. “That’s a little more deep than I care to think about right now…Sounds like your soul is sick, or tired.”
“so?…” She rattles her pill bottle.
He Smiles “No thank you”
“All it takes is one crack for even the thickest wall to crumble. It’s what my Grandma used to say” She gives a half smile. “I’m Evelyn, Evelyn Irving”
“I’m Fore” He says.
She opens the pill bottle dropping two reds on her palm, before tossing them in her mouth. “Like the number?”
He stares forward looking completely emotionless. “F-O-R-E like golf”
“heh, I’m sorry. Mind if I have a seat Fore?”
“Cause I don’t want to stand.”
“It ain’t my roof, sit where you like. I have to warn you before you do.”
“Oh…why is that?”
“You just might get stuck here waiting like me.”
“Well I doubt that…” She sits next to him straightening out her skirt as her legs dangle.
“I’m not much for waiting. By the looks of it, your just about done also”
She pulls out a pack of cigarettes from her clutch bag. She knocks one smoke out the pack.
“Mind if I smoke while I wait?”
Fore lifts his hand in disregard. “I got two smog filled lungs according to you, so be my toxic guest.”
She lights her cigarette taking a starter puff. “You’re trying real hard to fill that crack ain’t you Fore?”
He squints softly shaking his head slightly annoyed. “What are you going on about?”
“Nothing…” She exhales..”So what are you waiting for?”
“I don’t know…but I’ll let you know when I’m done.”
“I know how you feel. I guess we are all just waiting.”
“No, I think it’s just me.”
“If you say so”
An awkward silence clouds the air.
“I guess a better question is…”
Fore interrupts “I’m not in the mood for talking about it now”
Evelyn calmly continues her sentence. “What’s got you waiting?”
He turns his head away from her. “Did it ever occur to you I came up here so as not to talk to anyone?”
“No. It didn’t. Since your not keen to the idea of sharing I’ll go first.”
She reaches into her clutch bag once again revealing a folded note. “See this? He looks as she holds up a folded square. “This is a note.” She unfolds it once and begins to tear it to shreds tossing the pieces into the air as an approaching gust of wind catches. The tares flutter away like moths.
“Truth be told Fore I didn’t know you were here. I didn’t think anyone would be crazy enough to be up here on a cold, cloud day like this.”
Fore looks at Evelyn as if staring into a mirror. Studying her every feature. It was at that moment he came to a thought, that this be the first time he has ever really looked at a person much less an attractive woman like Evelyn. At least not without turning away in embarrassment or as to avoid confrontation. Yes, this was the first time in all his years he stared unafraid. Without fear of an uncomfortable consequence, he studied.
Evelyn was aware, but did not look back at him. She smiled. Years of hardened sarcasm has left her unable to realize her own genuine smile. This sad realization only sprouted a soft laugh in irony.
“Why did you do that?” Fore says confidently making eye contact.
Evelyn stares without a blink. “I think you know. Where’s your note?”
Fore sighs “I haven’t had one of those in years probably, just a big unreadable book”
“Is that what you’re sitting on?” She says exhaling her cigarette.
He stares down the building without an answer.
“I’m not here to wait Fore…I wrote that note to let anyone who read it know how I felt. No one ever seemed to listen to anything I have to say. No one ever talks to me. Not the real me anyway. That’s why I wrote that note”
Fore looks up at the sky. “I don’t think anyone is going to read it. Being in pieces and all.”
“I know, I know and I don’t give a shit! I don’t think I belong here anyway. If I did I wouldn’t feel this way you know? I’d be cold, jagged and numb like all the fucking people in the cubicles under this roof. They have their heads so far up their asses they didn’t even realize I don’t work here. I just walked in.”
“Is that why you’re here then? They same as me?”
“No. I’m cold, jagged and numb, numb most of all I think”
“Well, good luck with that. I’m sure you’ll do just fine on this asshole planet” Evelyn turns to fore with tears in her eyes. “Since you’re too chicken shit to let it go”
She jumps from the top of the building closing her eyes, with her arms stretched out and her legs together tight. She opens her eyes to view the approaching city street. Only there is no street. No lights, cars, or people to scream in terror. There is only darkness.
Then she feels the floor. She falls much softer than she imagined. She only feels a jolt as if she tripped from a street curb. She looks at a tear on her skirt as she stands from the floor.
“Hey, I told you. Now you’re stuck.” It takes her a second to focus her eyes on what looks like the back of Fore’s head. She looks around in a panic. She is back on the roof top. “What am I doing here! I jumped!”
Fore turns to look at her. “I know. You flicked you cigarette. Almost hit me in the face! It’s right here on the ledge.” She looks at the still lit cigarette. “Fuck this!” She excitedly says running to swan dive off the building again. This time her eyes are wide open. She jumps of into what seems like a bubble. Everything fades to black as she becomes weightless. Then she is spit out back to the roof top.
“What the fuck was that?! What is this? WHY CAN’T I JUST FUCKING DIE?!” Evelyn kneels crying.
Fore sits saddened by her tantrum. “I’m sorry”
“You! You’re behind all this! What are you some kind of Wonderful life wanna be angel asshole?!”
Fore can’t help but laugh at how moronic this notion sounded to him. “HAHAHA!..You think that I’m…HAHAHA! Oh, do you got it all wrong!”
“Don’t laugh at me!” She sprints as best she can pushing him off the roof.
Fore does not resist and continues to hysterically laugh as he falls. Evelyn pants. She turns to see Fore laying on his back staring at the sky.
“I can’t remember the last time I seen the sunrise. It feels like I’ve been here for years, but I’ve never seen the sun here, just that big moon taking up half the sky. I used to think is was a beautiful moon to…you know, to give the final goodnight to.”
Fore turns his head to look at Evelyn. “Now that moon just makes me nauseous. It’s like it just mocks me.”
Evelyn continues to sob as Fore sits up.
“I’m not an angel. If I’m a devil no one has told me. I have no powers except I appear to be immortal, never get hungry and thank god I haven’t had to take a shit..” Fore walks towards Evelyn. “..Cause there is no restroom. I’m sorry. I don’t know anything about this place other than I can’t leave. Now, neither can you”
Evelyn turns very quiet. She sits on the ledge and hangs her head. She notices the book.
“So this is your book?”
“It’s my book”
“Like a book you’ve been reading since you been up here Why have you been sittign on it?”
Fore quickly sits up walking past her. He sits on the book.
“No, like a book I wrote”
“I don’t know, because writing a book seemed like a good idea at the time! I wanted to tell a story.”
“No, I mean why have you been sitting on it?
“Because my ass hurts from sitting on this concrete for a long time! ..And What else is it good for now?”
“Okay, okay forget the book for now, let me think this through. What do you remember last, before you came up to the roof? What year was it? Who did you talk to before? What did you do?
“I don’t remember. I can’t remember anything about before. Only why I came up here in the first place. I came up here to jump. I spent a lot of time working on this book. I wasted my life. I lived in the street and lost all my friends. I became obsessed with making this story the best I could. When I finished it no one cared. I was alone with this unread book. I came up here to die with it, the only thing that made me feel valuable.”
“Damn.” Evelyn says as if she lost a bad coin toss.
“So you can theorize all you want. All I can say is that there isn’t anything you can think of that I haven’t!”
“Give me you’re shoe!”
“GIVE ME YOUR SHOE! I want to test something.”
“Ugh, fine, here.” Fore shimmies off his shoe and hands it to her.
She tosses it into the sky, over the side of the roof.
“What the hell did you do that for?!”
“Well what?” Fore says annoyed.
“Where is the shoe? It should have came back right?”
“I don’t know”
“Yes you do. I jump I come back. You jump you come back. Everything else doesn’t! You get it Fore?! It’s just us.”
…To be Continued…
If you read this far I am truly thankful! The story will be complete soon. I had the goal to finish last night, but as the story began coming to a close it began revealing pockets of hidden confessions of the characters I don’t want to rush.
Norman Wong did a ridiculously good job on the coloring. I hope you dig it thus far.