Take my hand
Her head rested on her arms as she leaned against the barrier, hair dancing in wisps about her face, her loose jacket rustling in the breeze. She looked out towards the distant hills with a faraway stare that suggested it wasn’t the fir trees she was looking at, or anything at all for that matter; the distant look of a thinker. I couldn’t put my finger on why but I knew I had to speak to her. Compelled you might say.
I let my hand run along the railing as I approached, the cold of the metal tingling at my fingertips. The water thrashed and churned beneath, throwing a fine spray into the air that made me blink hard while it caught on her eyelashes, seemingly unfazed. I came to stop next to her and rested my elbows on the side. The air felt thick with her thoughts like they were pouring out of her, too many to contain, forming a cloud so dense I had to take a breath to make sure I still could.
“They say the light here is beautiful.”
She said it like a statement but I felt it like a question. “They do.”
“I hear it from everyone so I thought I should come and see it.”
She bit her lip, posing the question back to herself. “I don’t see it.” She propped her chin on her hand, still staring out, searching for it. “I mean I see it, intellectually. I can see that the line of the trees meeting the horizon just so, the mountain ridge folding inwards to the river, the rough and tumble of the water, I can see how people would find beauty in that…”
“But you don’t?”
“I guess not.”
Do you trust me?
“What do you think?” She looked at me for the first time and yet it was as if she could see right through me; her blue eyes felt a strange blend of icy and warm, like snowmelt, like resignation.
“I think beauty is subjective.”
She glanced down, before turning back. Maybe she had been hoping for more, something to give her what she lacked.
“I think it is a perfect example of the cruelty of nature,” she proclaimed, a sharp edge to her tone, “The water, violent and relentless, has carved its way through the land, doggedly determined to destroy anything in its path.”
“That’s a rather pessimistic way of seeing things.”
“Is it?” she challenged, piercing me with her stare once more, “It will take the very floor beneath our feet given time and inclination.”
“True enough,” I concede. She raised an eyebrow as her hair whiped in the wind, “That being the case, then what is the point?”
“Well there is none,” she retorted matter-of-factly. “Life is short and hard and random and insignificant.”
“So you’re here to end it then?”
My blunt question catches her off guard and she shifts slightly on her feet. “That obvious am I?”
I find myself fighting back a smirk dancing at the corner of my lips. “I have an eye for these things.”
She goes on the offensive, jutting out her chin, goading mixed with indignation. “I suppose you’ll try to stop me.”
“Not at all.”
Her brow furrows, “Then what will you do?”
Then take my hand
“Help?” she spits, distaste and disbelief wrapped up in the word.
I nod gently, “That’s what I’m here for.”
She eyes me up, taking in my whole self for the first time, and apparently I am left wanting. “You came to jump?” scepticism dripping from her voice.
“Not exactly,” I reply calmly, “I’m here for you. If that’s how you want to do it then I guess that’s what I’ll be doing.”
The furrow deepens, the cloud of thoughts swirling once again.
“No one should be alone for this…and no one is.” I catch her gaze and I push the cloud aside, dispelling it, and in that instant I see the familiar wave of clarity form on her face.
“Take my hand”
“Do you trust me?”
“Then take my hand”
Our fingers intertwine and the wind howls a cry across the valley. Without a blink she grasps the railing and the world itself shifts as we pivot across the equilibrium. She glances back at the railing, her pale bitten fingers the fine line between the now and the next, before locking eyes with me once more. I smile and nod gently, and she lets go.