The wind up here is stronger. Her hair flies across her eyes and she scrapes it back with an absent-minded gesture. She blinks, but carries on gazing into the distance. She isn’t looking at anything out there on the horizon; not into the windows of the other office buildings that rise this high, not across to where the river glints like a silver ribbon on the land, not over to the clouds that skid across the sky.
She steps hesitantly towards the edge, watching her footing. She doesn’t want to trip, not up here.
She was always a clumsy child. She had fallen out of a window when she was barely a toddler. When she played on the heath, she fell out of trees more times than you could count. Her childhood friends were all catalogued on a series of plaster casts.
Not that she even spoke to most of them any more. School was funny like that; everyone fell into groups, and if you fell out of favour with one, you fell out of favour with the whole group. She knew a couple of them still, well enough to list them as friends on social networking sites, not enough to go and drink with them. It was the same through college and university, really. She started out popular, but came out with only a couple of friends, and as far as the big cliques were concerned she’d fallen from grace.
She smiles slightly, thinking of her student days. Endless days and nights of drunken hazes, falling out of taxis and getting thrown out of clubs. Eventually, it followed the same pattern. She didn’t go to those clubs any more. She was sick of dancing by herself.
She steps closer to the edge as her thoughts turn to more recent events. Fresh scars that wouldn’t heal. He had once looked at her kindly. She thought he felt the same way about her as she did about him, but when she confessed that she had fallen in love with him, the look in his eyes had told her everything she needed to know.
Another fall, this time in the one opinion that mattered.
She creeps closer still to the edge. From her pocket she pulls out a piece of paper torn from a notebook. It bears two words; a scribbled down name. His name. The tears in her eyes are whipped away by the wind.
She looks over the edge. It’s a long way down. With a deep breath she closes her eyes and imagines what it would be like to fall. To feel the wind whipping past, to feel gravity, to fall through the air and feel the relief as it took everything away.
She has thought of it before. Every time she stands here she feels the same way. Not scared to jump. Not scared to fall.
“Falling’s not the problem,” she muttered. “It’s only when I hit the ground.”
She lets go of the piece of paper, and the wind whips it away. It disappears in moments.
If only letting go of everything else was so easy.
© Kari Fay
(Author’s Note: This one is inspired by the song “Falling” by Florence and the Machine.)