The Edge

Slowly, carefully, I lowered myself till I sat beside her. My legs dangled beside hers, and impulsively, my hands gripped the metal underneath us. I could feel my whole body shaking, but whether it was from the wet wind or the darkness around us, I didn’t know.

I didn’t care.

Under my breath, I cursed before shakingly stating, “This is horrifying.”

“Then why are you here?” She whispered, her face expressionless.

“You were alone.”

Her laugh was harsh, emptier than the darkness in front of us. “Now people care.”

I focused on her face, her dark eyes, her thin dress, thin hands. “What’s your name?”

“Amy.”

“Hi Amy, my name is Mark Bowen, but my boss calls me Marcus. I don’t know why. My name is just Mark.” Silence from her. “Where are you from, Amy?”

“Long Island.”

“Long Island? What a place. What took you there? Birth or love or money?”

“Love. A fiancé.” She laughed bitterly again. “Ex-fiance now.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah. Oh.

Amy wrapped her arms tightly about herself, her small frame leaning against the wind.

“Long Island can have him.”

The silence between us stretched and stretched and stretched, farther than the cold or the darkness or the sky and when she spoke, the silence snapped back. “No one ever knows what to say after I say that. I mean, what is there to say? That you’re sorry? Cuz I am too. There’s only one person in this whole cursed world who isn’t sorry and it’s the one who should be! What else is there to say? That it will get better?”

She coughed hard against the cold wind. “It won’t get better,” she told me, shaking her head. “It will never get better. It’s always going to be just as horrible as it is right now. Other things will happen.” She waved her hands in front of her, and I had to stop myself from reaching out and grabbing her from falling. But she didn’t even notice.

“Time will keep going,” she coughed harshly, her voice slowing as she stared out into the darkness, “and at some point, I’ll stop thinking about it so much and it will stop hurting as much because other things will hurt more, and we will call that healing but the truth is that it won’t get better. It’s always going to be horrible. There will always be a fixed point in time when Jason DiCamillo left Amy Vale and that will never get better.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see red and white lights strobing sporadically. They were cold and sharp. I hoped she couldn’t see them too and impulsively, I shifted closer to Amy.

“Are you cold?” I asked suddenly.

Not phased, she stated, “I can’t feel my hands.” Laughing against the wind, she leaned far forward, peering into the darkness. “Who would have thought the edge of hell would be so cold?”

Carefully, so so carefully, I pulled my jacket off, silently cursing myself for wearing my short sleeved uniform. Ignoring the icy wind that stung my bare arms, I handed my jacket to her.

“Here.”

She just shook her head.

“Here,” I insisted, pushing the jacket at her hands.

“No, I don’t want it.”

“But you’re freezing. If you don’t get warm, you could die.”

“I want to die,” she told me haughtily.

“I know.”

Her eyes met mine, and as though it was the first time she realized it. Slowly, she repeated, “I want to die.”

Wordlessly, I wrapped my jacket around her shoulders.

“I want to die,” she said again, eyes locked on mine.

“I know.” The words caught in my tight throat.

“My heart hurts so bad. I loved him.” Tears began to stream down her scared face. “I loved him and he left me. He left me and now I can’t breathe anymore. My arms hurt from how much I want to hold him and- and- my heart hurts from how much I used to love him and I wish I could die. I just want to die.”

I gripped the front of the jacket holding her, and in a split second, pulled her to me. Against all fear, I pulled her to me.

Safe.

Against me, she was safe.

Raising one hand high, I signaled back to those behind me, and in moments, help rushed toward us. Many hands pulled us away from the edge, away from the darkness. In the solitude of the ambulance, Amy wailed pitifully.

The lights in the hospital were warmer than the lights on the bridge.

“What did she say?” My Chief asked, voice low as we watched doctors rush about her room.

“Everything. And…nothing. She just– ” through blurred eyes, I looked down at my ice burned hands and whispered, “She had no idea the edge of hell would be so cold.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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