Pushed to the Brink of Life (title is a work in progress)
He sat perched like a large black bird of prey, observing its next victim, watching intently with hunger filled eyes. He gazed down from high above the wild urban jungle, which roared and writhed bellow, coursing with an untamed energy, giving it life beyond mere skyscrapers and asphalt. Looking down, he consumed all with his eyes, soaking up the sights as if he was a stranger in his own land. This was his sacred spot, as when he went to the roof of his building, it ceased being a crumbling tenement, broken down and loathsome. It became for him a sanctuary, devoid of the ills, which plagued it in reality. Here, all was how he envisioned it, reality bent to his every whim, malleable like clay in his skilled artisan hands. He was not delusional, nor did he have a God complex. He just found comfort in reverting to fantasy, when the real world became too unbearable, an exercise in stress reduction but nothing more. This was the only place he felt in control, not simply a mindless drone, marching at the behest of some unseen master.
Sitting, as he was, legs and feet dangling over an edge that spanned twenty stories straight up toward the sky, he contemplated the irony. He, high above as if in the heavens, dwelled in a place in which no better imitation of hell could have been constructed. The cool breeze, brushed against his face, as he leaned over the edge even further. The sounds of the city, resonated in his ears, but the silent resolve which had overcome him, disallowed the noise to enter his perception. Poised in that position his mind turned to dark thoughts. He was not considering suicide; he was too strong to give up in such a cowardly way. He just wanted to test death so that he would know he was alive. His present state, as it was, could hardly be distinguished from that of death. He woke; he worked; he ate; he slept. Somewhere he had fallen into a monotonous routine, a perpetual cycle of a collection of meaningless tasks he felt compelled to carry out each day. Why? There was a time far off in what seemed like a different life, when things were not as bleak. Yet, he was not sure if that was just another mirage his mind had created to whitewash the pain, for now those few happy memories had begun to fade. Lifting himself up, he stood on the narrow ledge, the wind now blew stronger and with each gust we wavered slightly. He held his arms outstretched, in the manner of a tightrope walker. His gaze turned downward toward the city vivaciously surging with motion, involuntary as if he were motivated by instinct alone. The height was impressive, and its pure immensity suddenly stuck him like blow to the stomach, rendering him breathless, momentarily. Turning looking at the ledge, it seemed so narrow now. He could fit both his feet, but there was little room besides. He shut his eyes and began walking forward, blindly proceeding in this mortal game, Russian roulette without the gun.
Each step brought him closer to death. Its sweat flavor stained his lips; he could taste the intoxicating elixirs on the two chapped mounds of flesh as he bit on them, attempting to make his fear subside. His heart raced in hard irregular palpations, so intense his chest cavity felt near explosion; he had never felt so alive. Teetering on the slender median between life and death, made him truly aware of his mortality, and how fragile life was. He felt free, free from the bondage of his self-inflicted shackles, forged from his fear, doubts and anxieties. His pace quickened, he knew he was playing a deadly game because there could not be but a few feet left before he ran out of ledge. He never wanted this feeling to end; he did not know if he could stop. The temptation to continue on was too great. The yearn surged within him, churning his insides, with anticipation and delight. As went forward, he could think about nothing else but that much wanted next step. What if he took that last step and could not stop himself; he no longer feared it. Nothing at the moment, but the warm sensation each step brought, and the feel of the cool breeze against his body, occupied his mind.
Slowly he raised is leg and brought down his foot, the exhilaration was almost orgasmic, as he lowered his leg he felt the edge of the ledge beneath his laceless, dirt covered, Adidas. The front part of his foot hung over, reaching the last bit of ledge, making him quickly opened his eyes. Looking down suspended him in some catatonic fit; his muscles clenched, and his ability for movement evaded him. He found some strength from the inner recesses of psyche turned his head, and jumped……. Back onto the roof, safely hitting the ground with only minor bruising. He brushed himself off, leaving the roof, only until the next day, where he would return and once again to scale the ledge as he did ever day.
DISCLAIMER: Do not attempt this at home. This story is not about suicide, nor does it promote such behaviors. It is meant to be an allegory, where the character finds “life” (in the nonliteral sense) when his fears and inhibitions are abandoned, especially those concerning death, but the total lack of these are found to be of detriment to life: so one must walk that middle ground or metaphoric ledge.