Soap Opera Sunday This is my first time participating in Soap Opera Sunday--It was introduced by Brillig and Kateastrophe, and is being hosted this week at Brillig's blog. OK, here goes.
Why am I out on this ledge? What was I thinking? I’ve heard them say from this height the people on the sidewalk look like ants--but I never expected to be up here looking down and find out they were right!
“Clara, girl, you’ve got to come back by me, just ease on back and we’ll climb through the window."
“NO! Charlie’s left me I tell you. He thinks I’m fat. He thinks I’m a wimp. There’s nothing left for me. Just leave me alone. If you try to touch me, I’ll throw you off this ledge with me.”
Clara’s tears ran down her cheeks as she shot each sentence at me in staccato bursts. I could feel the shock of each statement as it hit my guts. And the worse thing about it was, what was hitting my guts was the sense that I shouldn’t be out here with this deranged woman--friend or not.
“Baby, what are you doing out there?”
Charlie’s wail came rushing past me as he stuck his head out of the window to my immediate left. I jerked my head first to Charlie, and then back toward Clara to see what her reaction would be. The head “jerk” was a wrong move as my body momentarily swayed away from the building. I felt a bit of my lunch come up in my mouth and had to swallow back the acid-drenched morsel which then scorched my throat on its return trip to my stomach.
“YOU ASSHOLE. What right do you have saying anything to me about what I’m doing? You’re the one out playing footsies with Doreen. You’re the one who told me I was a fat cow. You’re the one who said I wimped out on my diet. And you have the nerve to ask me what I’m doing?"
As Clara increased in volume with each new “you're the one” clause, she also took a step back toward me, the window, and Charlie. I could tell the look in her eyes. She’d had these blasts of remorse and recovered indignity with Charlie before. After the suicide attempt came the boxing of ears. But in the past this had taken place indoors, or at least on even ground--lots of ground, not on a barely one foot wide ledge twenty stories above ground. Maybe I’d been between them before, but I’d had plenty of room to step aside. Now I had no where to go but down.
“Clara, Girlfriend, kill Charlie later, let’s get in off this ledge first.”
I tried not to let panic hit my voice, but the higher pitch of it was probably obvious to everyone BUT Clara. She was now standing next to me, her chubby arm trying to push me aside and climb over me toward Charlie.
As I grappled with Clara and tried to pinch my fingers deeper into the cement brick crevices, I realized a strong hand was shoving my shoulders back against the wall. It was Charlie. He’d climbed out on the already overly crowded ledge trying to help.
For a dizzying moment my senses tried to record all that was happening. I had sweaty Clara wheezing expletives replete with spittle as she huffed and tugged trying to get at Charlie. There were those large baseball mitt sized hands of Charlie trying to simultaneously grab me and Clara and pull us toward the window. And there was the whirling suffocating sensation of my upper body being ripped away from the cold secure brick. I realized that in that one last frantic moment my entire body was free of attachments, hovering mid-air. The scream that was coming from me emptied my lungs until with mouth still gaping, the sound seemed equally suspended with my body.
Within a few moments, it was all over.
Through the shockwaves enveloping me, I realized I was “sinking” into a huge rubberized air bag, Clara’s arms, Charlie’s legs, and my limbs all akimbo as we fought to right ourselves on the ever shifting surface. With all the hoopla topside, I’d not noticed the arrival of the rescue squad and their inflating the huge air bag. And if I had, I would have thought “no way” would I ever commit to let go of the ledge and see if they’d positioned it in the right spot for me. Or whether I’d snap my neck anyway hitting the bag off to the side.
As the fireman helped me slide off the collapsing mat, I caught sight of Clara and Charlie, locked in each other’s embrace. Their kisses were fervent. Their love-making tonight would be beyond words. Although, at that moment, I had a few words I could have used . . .