‘Jump! Jump, Arthur! ‘– someone was screaming at the back.
‘Jump!’ – Chris who stayed closest to me, kept repeating loudly – ‘Oh, come on! We all have done it last year! Its easy!’
I was looking down, from the fifth floor of the deserted hospital building I could only see lumps of snow by the road. It felt very far but also very soft to land on, like a cloud. Beyond that was just a forest.
‘Just jump into this big chunk of snow and you will be fine! ‘– someone was saying.
I kept doubting.
‘Listen, Colin did it last year, the worst that could happen – he just broke his arm!’- this time it was Brian.
I did not know what to do, I was younger than them, I must have been three of four and they were all about eight-nine years old. I did not want to look weak or not brave in front of them but staying just near the fence of the rooftop did not make me feel good, rather nauseous. I stepped back.
‘Ah, you are such a pussy!’ -they laughed.
I walked back slowly touching the fence behind me, it was a very tiny path separating the roof fence and the end, it was slippery, and I wanted to go home, there was no one there whom I could ask for support. This is all I remember now, I wonder what if I jumped, would I still be alive? Probably, not.
‘I am not sure why you are telling me this story now, Arthur? This is of course very distressing…but you know I am not a big fun of drama staff like this’ – she yawned and kept drinking her wine…
‘Well, just wanted to share with you I guess, this was a big frustration of my childhood, something I remember. People say we rarely remember things before we are about five years old and if we do remember something it must be very important to our development and who we become as adults…Just thought you may want to know.’
‘I like knowing things about you but not sure how this related to who you are now? You certainly not someone who would listen to someone else’s bad advice, do you?’
‘I don’t know, I want to be independent but of course I am not always able to…’
It was weird for him that she behaved as if she wasn’t listening this time, he felt that sometime with her he had his gravity back at his feet but also at times that she would just take it away from him, making him feel like a floated body in the space with no purpose. Just like that, simple, whilst still drinking her wine, few words would come out her mouth and he would feel lonely again, without support, similar to the way he felt standing on that roof without any single person being on his side.
It was an occasion today, and restaurant they went to isn’t the one he would normally choose, very grand. For her, this was more of a place she wished they were going out all the time, her level, perhaps.
‘The reason I was telling you the story…’ – he started speaking again but with a rather trembling voice –‘…the reason is that never ever I felt since then that I had a good friend, person I could rely on, someone who would come out of nowhere and tell these kids to shut up and would walk me away somewhere safe…’
‘I wont believe that! ‘– she laughed changing the whole tone of the story.
Arthur felt it as another slap on his face with just few words.
‘Are you trying to say that you never felt that? Oh, come on? You have plenty of friends, do not be a hypocrite’ – she looked annoyed but smiley, she was dropping words easily, waving her hands, dirking her wine, moving her legs crossed like ticking clock, tick-tock.
He felt as she was literally stepping on everything he wanted to say. His anger was building up but he wasn’t sure why. He liked her for the way she was, a bit more relaxed than him, less serious maybe. He paused for a moment and looked somewhere else.
‘Why are you all quiet now? Don’t tell me that is because I revealed the fact that you’ve been again pitying yourself! ‘– she laughed even louder..
‘Avril! Can you please shut up!’– he did not expect to say that, neither her, she put her glass down and had eyes full with questions.
‘Sorry! I don’t know! I am sorry, see I am just trying to say something…’
‘Well, you better sort yourself out then, I would rather go, I wanted to enjoy tonight and so far its wasn’t so much joy to be honest, your weird dark stories and mumbling, and now this, why you always need to spoil everything, Arthur!’
He did not know what to do, the ring was in his pocket for her, he thought she was his support, someone he wished he had that day on the roof, whilst she could not make her mind if he is just indecisive man or something worse.
He saw her moving her things around identifying she will be leaving any moment, he just sat there paralyzed. The evening did not seem to go the way he planned, neither he was prepared to respond to this. She was taking time slowly arranging things around her, moving her bag, then re-arranging the cutlery, moving up gradually.
‘You should have definitely jumped off that roof! ‘– she said loudly after some time and walked away.
Arthur looked at the table, then at her walking, at the table again. He moved his body to stand up but fell back to his chair, powerless. The waiter brought their food. He said nothing whilst she put down their plates filled up with beautiful dishes they probably would never be eating again. He left the ring on the table, together with money for the meal and walked away too. ‘Another one of strange proposals this week? ‘– the waiter said to the bar-man, after clearing up their table. They laughed and piled up the ring together with few others left on the shelve behind the bar.