This weekend, I slept and slept and slept. I feel guilty for being so wildly unproductive, but I rationalize the guilt away by consoling myself with the fact that I’ll be supremely busy next weekend. Still, I feel sheepish because I should be writing. That being said, I did finish this week’s writing prompt, so that is something to be proud of.
Tuesday, October 15th, at 7:00PM at Manchester Branch of Ocean County Library is my first author event. I am nervous and honestly terrified no one will show up and I’ll be laughed at. That may not be a rational fear, exactly, but I’m sure it’s common for young authors. Wish me luck.
WEEKLY WRITING PROMPT #4: “Let go. You can trust me.”
Were Jayme ever asked how she came to be in the current position she was in, she did not believe that she would ever have an answer. Jayme was fully convinced that life has an increasingly bizarre way of leaving one stranded, that the cosmos would arrange themselves to simply screw with unsuspecting human beings. At this very moment, she was just such a victim as she was unable to pinpoint or adequately describe what had led her to the rooftop of an impressive building in the heart of Manhattan, cold concrete scratching at the back of her bare calves as she was backed up against the ultimate age. The wind whipped viciously, strands of hair stinging the sensitive skin it lashed, and she was bent at an outrageously uncomfortable angle, nearly a perfect ninety degrees backwards, so that her back was not guarded by anything and would meet the sidewalk with a sickening sort of splat if (when?) she fell. The only reason she had not met her demise via the concrete and asphalt and impact was because she was clinging in a clichéd, desperate manner to the rough and calloused hands of a man.
The man was not someone she knew or had even seen before. All Jayme remembered was that she had been returning from lunch, from some trendy restaurant just a few blocks away, and had been doing her utmost to return to the office on time. She had her elbows discreetly perpendicular to her sides, creating space among the masses to walk a clearer path and thereby proceed faster. She had been only a door or two away from the impressive building which housed the publishing firm she worked tirelessly for when the man had stopped her. He had a winning, charming smile and no pamphlet to hand over, which Jayme thought confirmed his credibility of being sane, normal, and rational. Upon reflection, however, Jayme did note that his hair had been messy and askew, which should have been a sign that something was off. And, the more she thought about it, the intense lines should have been a sign as well because although the features of his face were clearly defined with bold lines, everything inside was something sort of fuzzy because it was ever changing. It was possibly indicative of his inability to complete a thought, or to be anything other than clinically insane. But Jayme had not had these misgivings when it mattered, so when the man asked her why she was in such a rush, she had stopped long enough to smile and explain her lunch hour was rapidly drawing to a close and she did not want to be late.
His eyebrows shifted slightly to display his confusion. “You’re rushing to get back to work?”
Jayme had laughed to display her own confusing at his confusion. “It’s not that uncommon; conscientious workers often do their best not to be late.” No longer intrigued or entertained, she made to step around him and continue on, chalking up the encounter to nothing more than a crazy New York story that happened so often, really, that crazy became a misnomer; it was normal.
He had stopped her with a strong and steadying hand on her arm. It had not been a threatening gesture, but it certainly was not what she had been expecting. She looked up at him with squinted eyes and parted lips, anxious to ask many questions. He said, “Don’t you think you should be rushing towards something else, something worthwhile and everlasting?”
Jayme knew she should resist any desire whatsoever to engage him in conversation because she knew he was only spouting so much existential hoopla. She could not help herself, though. Maybe it was something is his eyes, dark and wild and free, or maybe it truly was what he was talking about, the opportunity to do something out of the ordinary which could be incredibly meaningful and life-altering. So Jayme asked, “Like what?”
“Come with me and I’ll show you,” he said. He took her hand in his and began to lead her. Jayme could have planted her feet, could have resisted and been dragged, could have screamed for help. But she was helpless against the romanticism of it all; a handsome stranger urging her to make her day count. What if there was some invaluable lesson to be learned, something beautifully optimistic that she could then pass on? What if this truly was one of those moments that mark the end of the mundane and the beginning of fulfillment? So Jayme willingly followed him into the building they had stopped in front of. She went with him onto the elevator and had been slightly disappointed when they rode it all the way to the stop. There was something predictable and cheesy about it. Was this some kind of lame, extended metaphor? Because if it was, she truly did not have time for such anti-climactic antics. When the soft ding sounded their arrival, and the metallic doors slid open, the strange man led her out into the hallway and to their immediate left. Her curiosity was turning to impatience, and that quickly transformed into apprehension when she realized they were about to burst through the door clearly labeled roof access. Her steps started to stutter and she began to verbally express her doubt and her fear.
“Hey now, wait a minute; where are we going?” He did not answer and Jayme was not surprised but she was not deterred, either. She continued her chain of questions, her self-soothing rambling. “I do not want to go up on the roof. Let me go now, seriously. I’ll start screaming if you don’t stop and then you’ll be in a world of trouble. The cops will be here so fast, your head will spin, I promise.”
Jayme’s questions were unheeded and the progress was not impeded. When he met the door, he kicked it in. Was he terribly strong, or was the door terribly old, with rusted hinges and weak joints and whatnot? She hoped the latter proved to be true. They stepped through the doorway into the dazzling, blinding sunlight and he abruptly turned to face her. He took her by the shoulders, firm but not threatening, and pushed her backwards. Jayme was now terrified and she was screaming, twisting her head left and right to try and see where he wanted her final destination to be. She tried to resist, tried to move against him, but he was so strong and she was so scared that coordinating her weak and trembling muscles with any kind of directive thought proved exceedingly difficult. He pushed her until he had backed her up against the edge, until there was literally nowhere else to go but over, and then hurtle towards death.
He grabbed her hands in his in a painful grip and pushed against her until she had no other option but to lean back. Jayme was leaning back over the busy, city street below, freely screaming and crying and waiting for the inevitable end. The wind whipped and the traffic sounded farther than it actually was. Her ears felt as if they were filled with cotton and her mouth had gone dry, despite the streaming tears and snot slowly beginning to leak out of her nose. There was nothing pretty or glamorous about facing death. She was snotty and sweaty and pleading just like anyone else would be. Jayme closed her eyes and shut her mouth, realizing that reasoning was futile because one could not talk to a lunatic like a normal human being. Moments that stretched forever passed.
Then Jayme felt hot breath against her ear. “Let go. You can trust me.”
Jayme’s eyes shot open. The shock had sobered her up and brought her back into the actual moment rather than the fear of the future. He was smiling so kindly, but clearly his intentions were not good. If she let go, she would die, plummet to her death and become nothing more than smashed and splattered guts and bones and blood on the sidewalk. How could he ask this of her with so gentle a smile? What was this madness?
But seeing no other alternative, Jayme let go.