I get this unbelievable urge to just climb up onto a ledge. I’m sitting at some table just a few steps from the glass railing—If that’s what you call something made of glass…railing. You can look down four floors to the ground. People are walking and going about their business, talking, laughing, and just being. And I am sitting up here wanting to climb up onto the glass. I wanna feel like I’m teeter on the edge and just push off a bit and fall.
For a moment or two, I might think of the panic my falling will create, but that doesn’t matter to me really. See, I don’t care about someone remembering me, splattered all over the building’s lobby, like some tragic story. I only care to focus on the sensation of just doing something crazy—I mean something that feels like I’d have to be mental to do. Standing there and jumping off because I just fucking can. To hurt myself, or possibly kill myself because that crazy thought crosses my mind, and for no other reason. I’d be giving it all up, letting go of investments in myself and the future, and acting on the simple and senseless whims of the urge.
I don’t know why the ledge is so appealing apart from other things. I sometimes wanna jump in front of ongoing traffic*. Feel what it’s like to get hit point blank by a black eighteen wheeler or crushed under the wheels of some too expensive muscle car. Sometimes I think about just letting my legs go and crashing into the marble—whatever maybe porcelain—that makes up my shower walls or bathtub. Letting my skull crack against it, spilling out and pooling.
Somewhere high up, like looming over things—hardly protected from jumpers, an edge, though, is always at the forefront of my thoughts. Every high place. Every step up a staircase, I get this numbness in the pit of my stomach to crash down from this spot.
I tell others this
“Sometimes I wanna jump off of somewhere high.”
And they don’t get it.
“You really should see someone.” Some tight nosed asshole will say, thinking he knows better for me than I do. Or worse.
“You have so much to live for.” And they don’t know me. They don’t fucking know what I keep from them, so what the fuck do they know?! Nothing!
I don’t wanna kill myself, that’s obvious, but I hate when people talk like they know what I should do with myself.
Other times, the less annoying time, people’ll smile vaguely, nodding or sharing a moment where they’ve felt just like that.
“Yeah. I get that way about food. I’m on a diet you know.”
To which I don’t think it really compares. It sounds egocentric, but food? Really? Jumping off of a ledge is like not eating fucking food?
Sometimes I close my eyes thinking I’ve done it. I’ve embraced, the feeling of my stomach twisting and turning as I descend, just to open my eyes and find my feet gripping the ground. What do they have? A donut in their mouth?
And yes, I’ve spoken to my parents about it once. Being the supportive, caring, and respectable parents that they were, they asked
“Are you alright?”
“You been bullied?”
“You want to go see someone about it?”
I really didn’t want to see anyone about it. I had been bullied, but not in a long time, not that it mattered if I told them.
I wasn’t a cry baby. I wasn’t going to tell them when I was hurt physically. That sort of stuff didn’t faze me. It was actually more like a medal of honor to be in a fight—to fight back, to having triumphed or failed under the big bloodied knuckles of someone.
If you’ve never ever been in a fight, for the record, or no one’s ever hated you, or swung at you and busted your lip, then to me you’re like nothing. You’re just this fluffy cloud that no one can hit, because you’re just full of hot hair and water.
You need a few bruises to call your skin flesh.
“I do tell my parents about things that hurt my will, my heart, or my mind. Ideas and concepts that cut past the flesh and pierce into my—my soul or whatever. I tell them because hurt like that you can’t just cover in Neosporin and sit it out. It’s like the kind of infection that need antibiotics, but then the doctors don’t even know what infection you have. It gets worse and worse and soon enough it’ll kill you.” I’d say, half drunk, laying on Joe’s bed, wrapped up in the blanket with him.
I don’t mean it as dramatic as it sounds. I mean it like… feelings being an old sewer system. If you keep it all bottled up, you’ll eventually drown in all that shit or it’ll burst and then your shit will be on and in everything. Like you’ll stink. No one will want to be near you, so you have to let it out.
I cry a lot. I’m not a cry baby though. Like—like I don’t. Do it to get attention. I do it to feel better. I find myself some small dark, loud place, and I scream and bawl my eyes out. I don’t want anyone to see or hear me. No one but me should know what I cry like. I feel people pity me or look down on me when they see me blubbering, you know.
When I’ve got snot slippin’ out of my nose and my eyes are red and burning I feel the most delirious. It’s when I most feel like jumping off of shit or standing in front of traffic. It’s not because I’m so sad I wanna die, type shit. It’s more like I just want to be somewhere else, feel something else, be someone else.
I don’t know why it has to be violent. It’s not like I think about that shit often. It’s just that it possesses me. I try to think deeply about it, but when I do that I make myself even more confused with this false sense of control. I feel I know and the moment like things don’t work out how I thought (I feel something I didn’t think I’d feel) I just fall into a deeper pit of despair.
My dad likes to think that most of things I do come from anxiety. Then again it’s my dad. He thinks that there is something wrong with anyone who doesn’t agree with him. Though, somehow, he always conveniently thinks that he can be wrong and because he can acknowledge that fact it’s alright. Whenever it’s convenient for him to keep doing that same stupid shit he’s always done. He knows smoking is fucking horrible for him but somehow he can acknowledge that fact and not fucking stop doing it.
However if I’m not an upstanding member of society or if I drink, and sleep around, I’m this sort of monsters. I’m wrong and I know it, and somehow I have to fix that. I have to work on it. I need to get better. He’s just full of shit, but somehow I’m always listening to what he says. Usually for a few moments I can buy into what he’s saying. I can agree with it for a moment or two, entranced by his confident smile and his smug nature, but then I just walk the fuck away and then like that the air clears out and I realize just how full of shit he really is.
Nonetheless, he thinks it comes from anxiety. He cites some journal that I take his word he’s read. My three psychiatrists think that as well,
“You’re anxiety seems to be the root of a lot of your actions. You don’t get along with your parents.” Some of the tweedy eyed ones will say. I don’t know which fucking doctors is which. I got used to saying nothing, keeping my eyes on the floor, and letting my parents exemplify themselves as the perfect parents and me as a the problem child. Yeah, but I’ve not been to one of those since high school and early college.
I never spoke at any of the sessions, but I always imagined myself saying,
“You think that because people who think they’re smarter than me make me anxious. Like I want to beat the shit of them. You, as a matter of fact, and I’m really trying not to be rude, here. My mom beat my respect of others into me at birth, and every time I feel the urge to hurt someone else just on principle, I cringe. So write that in your silly little book.”
My mom beat a lot of lessons into me that evening, as always. That was why I moved out.
Maybe I’ve always been this way, angry, violent, but keeping it to myself. And maybe my mom had nothing to do with it. Maybe I’d always cringe when I felt the anger coming out, but I doubt it. No one could feel this violent and mean and incorrigible inside and just ignore it. I think it’s in my blood.
They, the stupid fucking doctors, told me I should try facing these situations, and fighting my feelings a little at a time. The jumping and the anxiousness from violence… They say that the thrill I feel is an addiction. I don’t understand how I could have gotten an addiction to something I barely even know first-hand, but they never answer questions like that; fucking doctors. They redirect you into place where they can’t sound less educated—intelligent—than you.
They want me to feed those “desires” into more productive venues.
So I do. I sleep with every guy I can.
It’s not that I’m some gorgeous woman. Well, I wouldn’t know. I don’t look at myself in the mirror much anymore. I saw the bags under my eyes and the bruises on my chest and neck and I just didn’t like what I saw. I avoid it.
It’s more about men needing to fuck something that isn’t fat, and makes sounds occasionally. It’s not really good for me at first, really. I don’t know if my sex drive is properly formed or whatever, but I like to watch the ecstasy and sexual explosion in others. I feed off the sounds of pleasure, off of a man groaning gutturally, and then I can get into it. I can feel it.
So when they need me I’m there. When I want to jump I am there for them. I feel like the weight is crashing under me and then I’m in someone’s arms and in between hot breaths and then.
Sometimes I like to try my own ways of “diverting” this desire. I try turning my back to ledges. Keeping them out of sight. It doesn’t work any better than the fucking psychiatrist decisions. Mine actually makes things worse.
Because there is a fear I get when I think about jumping. My stomach clenches up. I feel that’s the way of people. It like the body is trying to keep itself alive by giving you this kind of death anxiety. Somewhere in our psyche or in our physiological make up there is a craving to survive so engrained in the tissues and fibers of our bodies that, we can’t do an act without a feeling at all. We shy away at first and decide that somehow the pain or anxiety is worth the act and decide to do it anyhow.
I feel that with my back to it I could fall, trick myself into believing that I’m perfectly safe, long enough to do it and be done. If I close my eyes and lean back and decide to drop to the ground, then I’d be dead before I knew it. Or alive, having finished doing it.
There is only one person that tells me to jump. He’s got these dead eyes that give away nothing. I’m usually good at reading people. I read in a book somewhere that abused kids can read people better than the average person. They get used to reading faces in hopes avoiding a big ol slap in the face or a punch in the gut. But somehow I just can’t read him.
He says contrary things to me. That he hates everyone and then he says he’d never hurt anyone. He’ll take my hand into his calloused ones and just stare at me. Those dead eyes would try to make me feel better about some shit someone said to me. Then he’ll tell me to leave him and that he doesn’t need me, or want to see me.
He says I should jump off the ledge.
“Just jump already. Stop groaning about it and do it.” He said once, scraping at the rash on his back. He breaks out all the time, allergic to a certain type of fabric, yet he never takes any precautions, “That’s what I hate about you. You sit there thinking all these things and you never say or do anything about it.” I glare at him, but I don’t leave my spot next to him on his bed.
He then leans over and rubs his thumb over my cheek for a moment or two. My eyes fixed on his hands, the best part of him, one resting on his lap.
“Just fuck right on off Joe.” I say rubbing into his touch.
I think I’m in love with Joe. I don’t know. I thought I loved a lot of the people I ended up leaving, forgetting even. I’m not always at grips with my feelings, so I try to distance it. Keep myself just vaguely in control of what I think I am feeling.
I spend most of my time watching Joe. He’s not that good looking. I’d even go to say he’s unattractive, but he captivates me. He’ll smile but it won’t reach his eyes, like he resents himself for laughing. He dimly cares for things, while I have very passionate beliefs, but he always eggs me on. It’s like he cares to hear me talk about things. To watch me get angry to watch me laugh. He makes me smile, when I don’t want to, and sometimes he means the world to me, but most of the time he doesn’t.
And then there are his hands. My mom told me, when I was a little bastard,
“The way to find someone you love is to look at their hands. Know their hands. Love their hands.” She’d smile vaguely. Her hands in my father’s.
She made a huge deal about it… I never thought I’d take much stock into anything she ever said, but when I felt his hands in mine that time…I just became obsessed.
They looked big, but weren’t much bigger than mine. Wide palms and the back rough, dry, and hairy. His nails were even and well kept. His palms lightly callous, work of some kind I don’t know—maybe construction. Yet they were just so soft. Perfect. And I knew my mom had been right.
I think he may be one of the only people I’ve wanted to fuck. I get the urge to see him in ecstasy. Especially when I’m looking over a ledge, down at the ground and my stomach clenches. I think about what he’d look like covered in sweat.
I think he dates women, but I’ve never seen him with any. He probably sleeps with them while I’m at work.
I have a key to his apartment, he gave it to me a year or two ago. Ever since he did I get this thought right before bed.
I feel like I’d walk absently to his place after work, looking for some beer and his dead eyes, like I always do. Like I’ll open the door and lying there in the middle of the carpeted studio floor would be a creamy white girl, spread like a butter over the ground. And he’d be over her a black blob of images that are writhing and torn with passion, and slamming into her like an old film, slowly and mechanically. And they’d both be looking at me as they did it, but I’d only focus on her eyes and her face, upside down and moving in rhythm with Joe’s old film thrusts.
Then I’d wake up the next morning, my sheets stained with cum and sweat and tears.
Sometimes I dream that the girl is me.
Sometimes I dream that I’m the one fucking the girl.
Sometimes I don’t dream at all, but I wake up with my bed still stained with tears or sweat, or cum.
I like to stand at ledges and lean as far as I can while keeping my feet on the ground. It makes my heart race like crazy, and my eyes bulge. One time when I was leaning over the edge Joe pushed me a bit, and my feet came off the ground. I clenched and quickly backed away from the edge. Joe smiled at me for a moment.
“You should totally just do it already.” And with that he leaned in and kissed me softly on the cheek and left me there.
I don’t know what he wants from me, Joe. But I felt like that no matter what I do…my body will reject the jump. I’ll cling to the ground under my feet, and I’ll think of Joe and his dead eyes and then.
Today was important however. It was important because everything came together perfectly. I’d gone home to see my parents for Valentine’s Day. They lived an hour from where I lived. My mom and dad got into a stupid argument and my mother beat the shit out of me. Her eyes were wild and rage crushed her normally soft features into an apparition. Her fist were big as always, slamming down on my face, gripping my clothes and dragging me back when I tried to crawl away.
She was crying now. She always cried when she beat me, when my father was watching. It was like she felt ashamed that he’d see her that way, or that I saw what she’d do for him.
When she got too tired, a tension headache forming just behind her eyes, she fell back onto the black sofa, and stared at me. She breathed heavily. I glanced at my father and he looked ashamed of her, or me, or himself. He looked like he was going to say something to me, but I guess his ego informed him that would make him wrong, so he didn’t say it.
I pulled the jacket over my shoulder, it being pulled off of me in the struggle. My body was supposed to ache, but I always went into shock when I got into a fight. I never felt much until after I calmed down.
I pooled some blood in my mouth and spat it on the white couch near the front door as I left. I could hear my mother rise from her chair, and rush towards me, but I’d already stepped outside. She’d never fight me where the neighbors could see. She’d never take responsibility for what she sometimes took out on me.
I don’t know why I never fought back with her, but I knew that my dad was so pissy that he’d let her. Before I even started this, I knew she’d beat me. Normally he’d pull her off me, but I’d screamed at him too. I screamed…no words…but they could always see what I said in my eyes. They knew I would have said.
“You scummy old idiotic piece of shit wouldn’t know a fucking whore if she sat down and gave you a blow job. Callin me a whore when you haven’t even seen a vagina in 10 years?”
They thought I’d deserved it.
I probably did. I always go there and talk shit, mumble about how crummy their life is. I never shut up when I should and I tell them what a failure I’ve become, when in actuality I’m doing very well in college. I’m nearly a 3.8 student, but they didn’t care. They never really cared about anyone other than themselves, and I was fine with that. I just needed to see them suffer occasionally.
I left and drove to Joe’s. I don’t know why. It was a bit late too. He’d be asleep but he always heard me in the house. He’d wake right up. I’d never gone there this late before. Just before I opened the door I could hear the moaning. I knew that if I walked in right now I’d see him fucking some woman. I knew that I’d see him enjoying every moment of it. His dead eyes come to life.
I turned the knob, and it twisted freely. He didn’t even lock the fucking door. I pushed it and I didn’t see them there on the ground, like I had dreamed. I didn’t see her buttery skin coating the ground like some pastry topping. I took a few steps into his place. I could feel my fist growing hot and turned into the area where the bed was. Her skin was dark, Hispanic, tanned, and her hair was brown. Nothing like I imagined. And her head hung backwards, her eyes on the roof.
He was groaning and she was bouncing, but when I walked closer, I saw his eyes on me. They were cold and dead, and looking at me. I turned and behind me was his stupid brown chair. I couldn’t contain myself. I had to just destroy something. I had to just break apart this chair.
My fist tore through to wood so easily and pieces splintered and flew past my face, and then I was bleeding and walking out of the door and down the road. It rained the day before so there are these big pools of water. My feet were freezing, it was cold, and wet and.
Then I started to cross the bridge. I felt the lights on me getting bigger and bigger and then the brakes and I stood there, in the road, watching some horrified woman’s eyes stretch out. I wanted to tell her I was sorry. That I wanted her to hit me, but I didn’t want to put her in jail, but I just walked past her.
I walked past the dirty road and over to the sidewalk. My face burned lightly as the pain came back into my body. My mother had worked my face really well. And my hand hurt like a mother fucker. But that didn’t matter. It didn’t hurt. It was my badge of honor.
But I started to cry. It began to hurt at the bottom of my stomach and I couldn’t help but sob. My hands hurt. My face hurt. My stomach hurt. My head hurt. My heart ached. It was dark enough, and the constant blare of engines made it loud enough.
I screamed and leaned up against the side of the bridge. The blood pumped out of my knuckles and spilled onto the darkened wood. This was my fault. I knew it. I shouldn’t have waited so long.
I gripped the bridge bars and hoisted myself up, a knee on the top of the railing. Then the other. I looked down and there was supposed to be water there, but it was dark. My back pressed against the rails and my feet nestled on a bit sticking out from the bridge’s structure. Only a vague dark light illuminated an outline of me. The dark water lapped and stretched under the cool air licking from the distance. The bottoms of my feet tingled and curled back from the water. My body was rejecting the jump.
I don’t know how long I stood there, trying to let go, my hands gripping the railings harder than I’d gripped before. I didn’t know why now of all times it was the hardest to let go. I hung my head and closed my eyes and felt the hot tears wet my face, a rough wind blowing against my back.