I looked at the couple and then looked up too. I gasped. It was Erica. Erica from my office was standing on a ledge of a very tall building. She was so far up that I only recognized her from the bright blue dress she had worn to work.
I ran toward the building as people began to stop on the sidewalk to gawk at Erica. I slammed the elevator button and nervously kept pressing it. When the elevator came, I jammed the button for the top floor.
I tapped my feet nervously as the elevator rose. It was taking an eternity. When I got to the top floor, I bolted out of the elevator and to the stairs next to them. I ran up the flight of stairs to the roof.
“Erica!” I shouted as I ran across the roof. It was windy and cold on the roof.
“Oh. Hi, Shelly,” she said as if we had just bumped into each other in the hallway downstairs.
“Um, Erica? What are you doing?” I asked her.
“I don’t know, really. I know I have to jump. I know my life is over, but I’m just standing here,” she said.
In the movies every time you get close to a jumper, they jump off the building. I didn’t know if that would happen. If I knew I could, I would have grabbed Erica’s arm and yanked her back onto the roof. So what if I broke it or concussed her.
I did the next stupidest thing I could think of. I got onto the ledge and stood next to Erica.
She turned to face me. “What are you doing?” she asked.
“Meh, my life sucks, too,” I shrugged. “Do you know I haven’t had a boyfriend in two years?”
“Umm...that kinda sucks,” she said.
“Yeah, and I haven’t heard from my siblings in months. It’s like no one can stand to even talk to me.”
“I like talking to you,” said Erica.
“Really?” I said, acting very touched. “Well, if we weren’t both going to jump off this building today, I’d say we should get lunch.”
“I know what you’re trying to do,” said Erica.
“Is it working?” I asked. “Because I’m seriously cold and dizzy.”
“No,” she said.
“Why don’t you tell me what is making you want to jump? If it is worse than my life, I’ll leave you alone,” I said.
“It isn’t like that! When you get to the point I’m at, it isn’t about reasons. It’s about relief. It’s about not feeling anything ever again and the joy that thought brings you,” she said.
“Is that thought more joyful than any other thought?” I asked.
“Yeah,” she said, looking down at the street.
“Better than having lunch with me?” I asked.
Erica turned to look at me again. “What?” she asked, incredulously.
“Seriously. Lunch with martinis. You and me. Is dying happier than that?”
“Come on, we can go down the street and have a three martini lunch and then not come back to work,” I said. “You can tell me all about your problems and I can tell you all about mine.”
“No, I can’t,” she looked torn as she answered.
“Yes you can. If lunch sucks, we can come back up here later. Come on, Erica, it’ll be so much more fun than this.”
“Okay,” she said in a whisper.
“Awesome. Let’s go,” I said. I turned cautiously and jumped down from the ledge to the roof.
I turned and Erica was doing the same. Once she was safely away from the ledge, I put my arm around her. She started to cry on my shoulder.
“Thank you,” she said between sobs.