The Man Jumped

This was written from a writing prompt found on reddit, which was “And so the man jumped…”

And so the man jumped, blocking the numerous calls for reason that fell upon his ears. Nothing mattered besides that cool, blue water that rippled below. The horrors that wait were predictable and more easily acceptable than the horrors that plagued this man’s daily life.  The days filled with a cacophony of bullshit, lost dreams and endless nights. Tears would sometimes flow down his cheeks in the darkness, when that familiar wave of regret grasped control of his mind. “She stopped loving me because I couldn’t stop fucking things up. They disowned me because I changed into something less than zero. I gave up because no one would stand by my side.”

This man did not lead a completely lonely life; he had those surface-level acquaintances that would help him pass time at a bar or while smoking a cigarette at work. These people certainly helped move his life forward at a less excruciating pace, but the pain was still there. Booze and drugs could only do so much to quell the storm, and in those desperate nights to forget he would binge like Bukowski. Have you ever chugged a handle of whiskey while tears rolled down your flushed cheeks? Have you ever had problems snorting drugs off of glass because tears clumped up the powder? Have you ever broke a bottle and held it to your wrist because it was the last thing you had control of? Life or death; that ultimate choice that Shakespeare turned into a cliched expression.

What was wrong with choosing death? The people who say that life is beautiful and you shouldn’t waste your ‘one shot in this world’ are cowards. They refuse to accept that the other side may be better than this side. Your body will be gone, but your consciousness may live on (if those fairy tales I heard in church as a child were at least semi-true). If you die and everything goes to black, who gives a fuck? One day everyone is going to end up there anyway, so why not have some control over your destiny and decide how your death unfolds.

So this man decided to jump off a very tall bridge that connected the city that never went to bed to a land that was the stark opposite. It was 4 AM when he made it to the middle of the bridge, which is universally regarded as the “hour of regret.” He took a handful of pills that the doctor gave him to calm his nerves, and he opened up a bottle of very expensive whiskey. Mine as well go out with the good shit, right? He stepped up on the railing and steadied himself on a cable. He looked at the water and then at the bottle. Death waits down there, but he couldn’t let himself die in his current state. The drugs haven’t kicked in and he was still haunted by his mind which was working overtime to show him images that made his soul cry. His eyes started to water. He took a long swig as a man started to scream from a stopped car behind him. The man paid no mind to the other’s words.

As the man continued his quest to finish the bottle of whiskey, more people gathered around behind him. These people were trying to rationalize his decision, but what the fuck do they know? Not one of those people behind him were anybody he knew, so their words meant nothing. He decided to have fun with this and turned around to the crowd and asked them to bring him the woman who broke his will to live all those years ago. Bring her here so she can make a case for survival.

When she arrived she was in her pajamas and tears seemed to be swelling in her eyes. When she saw the man those tears started to fall. What had he become? Nothing more than a warped shell of the man he once was. She said his name and he almost lost his grip on the cable that stabilized him. She told him she was sorry for how it ended, but this is not the way to deal with it. The future holds so much hope and blah blah blah. He downed the last drops of the whiskey and threw the bottle over the bridge. The crowd gasped. She came closer to him and pleaded for him to step down and come talk to her. She hadn’t seen him in five years and had no idea what had happened, but she said she would help him through it.

The man laughed a laugh that would haunt the woman for the rest of her days. “What the fuck do you know? You broke me, and the last thing I want is your help. You’re the devil as far as I’m concerned. You were the catalyst for everything that happened! The pills, the booze, the drugs, the tears. THIS. Don’t you ever forget that you hold the blame, and no other.”

And so the man jumped. The last thing he saw was her hand outstretched towards him, tears flowing freely from her eyes. Good, fuck her. She ruined his life and now maybe he ruined hers. As he fell he smiled. Maybe she would be standing where he once stood, but she would not be able to call the man who was responsible for her downfall. She would be crying out to empty stars, distraught with the havoc she had inadvertently created. Isn’t that a metaphor for the tapestry of life? Who knows what happens when another injects dissonance into the spectrum of life. Consequences rippling through the world like the waves of the ocean. If life were a symphony, it would certainly be atonal.

The man who jumped, he began floating down the Hudson, slowly being torn apart for fish food…and that was ok. Finally he had a purpose in this fucked up weird as shit world.

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