I open my eyes to flashing blues and reds on my wall above me. The colors fill my darkened apartment as I sit up and walk towards the doors that lead to my patio. I open the doors and the crowd’s murmuring, along with occasional shouts from the police officers to “Get back!” assail my senses. The heat of the early summer night billows the legs of the boxers from the wind sailing past the 22nd story patio. The crowd is a sea of people, swaying and shifting of their own accord and seemingly at random.
I follow the spotlights up onto the opposite roof, maybe 30 stories up. A girl stands on the edge, naked as the day she was born. Strands of her hair flow with the wind across her face and neck as she stares down into the lights. She turns her eyes to me, unabashed of her nakedness, and gives the slightest smirk. The smallest of gestures pierces me, brings a tear to my eye. She looks upwards as she closes her eyes and spreads her arms. The crowd below jostles and pushes with fervor as she falls forward. The shrieks and cries I will wear forever.
She looks just like a dove taken to flight; she’s so beautiful and graceful. Her hair trails behind her, flailing her tentacles haphazardly in the limelight. I realize I’d never seen such beauty; I realize that image will forever be burned into my eyeballs. A constant whenever my eyes close, from that point forward; I couldn’t look away if I’d tried to. Honestly, who would ever want to deny her that; who would ever want to?
The wet and squishy sound of her body hitting the sidewalk is deafening. It’s louder than the fire engine and police cruiser sirens, louder than the crowd’s exclamations and shrieks of grief, even louder than my own heart pounding away wildly inside my chest. The smooth concrete gives way to the spider’s web she’s fallen into. Even from this distance, I can see her limbs jutting awkward and unnaturally. There’s no twitching, no heaving, no movement whatsoever. At least not anymore.
I’ve lost track of the sounds and the sights and my own beating heart as the world falls backwards into blackness, her broken body the only stage. Blood pools out from her as the police push the crowd back to make way for the ambulance coming forward. Women are puking, men are crying, most stand with their mouths agape.
The two paramedics get out of the ambulance and open the back door. Their cameras light up the stage as the star actress makes her debut; the paparazzi have their way. One of them pulls out death, folded neatly, and opens it onto the cracked web right next to her. Their gloved hands ever so delicately lift her shattered body into the bag; death’s smile brightens as they zip it up. Such an inglorious treatment of the beautiful bird; the wicked arachnid. The one who dared.
The people are starting to disperse as the ambulance, lights and sirens on, drives away from it all. I stare in wonder as one old man is left. He’s hosing the blood towards the storm drain. He’s whistling as he goes about his task, oblivious to the glorious transformation that has just taken place. Soon enough, the blood is all gone along with the crowd of people. The only thing remaining is the web and yellow tape cordoning it off.
I close my eyes to see the beautiful bird as she flies into whatever lies just over the horizon. I shudder as I close my patio doors and head back to bed, still sleepy.
This was my first ever anything I wrote way back in March 1993 at the ripe old age of 12. While I stayed true to the original construct, I felt it necessary to rewrite this, adding in but not subtracting. I didn’t know it at the time, but the implications of what I was trying to say, what I was desperately trying to tell myself, wouldn’t be known until several years later.
My English teacher, Mrs. Adams, really did not like reading this story. She gave me a D+ as we were supposed to write as many similes as we could into a story; I opted instead for description. I didn’t pick up pen and paper again until I was 16 and couldn’t speak the confusing and jumbled emotions and thoughts that started cropping up. After all, I was used to feeling them, but oh the arrogance of youth! I kept this two paged story for many years, using it as a reflection point in regards to my journey.
I hope you find in it the solace I eventually did. I hope you see past the words to the true meaning of what exactly I was trying to say. Most importantly, I hope you take a part of this with you as you move forward.