I don’t look down, not yet. The wind is blowing my hair across my forehead, and my fingers are locked tight around the railing behind me. I shuffle my feet, careful not to step too far; the tips of my toes hang off the ledge. I swallow hard, the lump in my throat making it hard to breathe.
I’ve had the most amazing life. My parents are supportive of everything I do, we’ve got a nice house, I’m good at school, I’ve got everything I could ever want. I’ve been able to do what I love every day of my life, but lately, it just isn’t enough. The pressure is too much. I have to hide my hurt, pain and fears on a daily basis, both from strangers and the people I love.
I’m not strong enough anymore. I can’t keep pretending.
The worst part is, I’ve been so lucky. I have an incredible life, much better than so many other people’s lives, so I can’t complain. No one would understand. They’d see me as self absorbed, conceited, arrogant, all because I’m well off and they don’t understand that I feel pain too.
I’m just so tired of being tired all the time. I never get a moment to myself, and I always have to be wearing a smile and acting happy, or people would say I’m just looking for attention.
I just can’t do this anymore. It’s too much. I wish I could tell my friends that it’s not their fault, make sure my mom knows I love her, tell the world that it’s nothing they could have done, because it’s all my fault.
I hear shrieks below me, and I glance down. I see a woman pointing up towards me, her hand covering her mouth while she screams.
“Call the police!”
“He’s going to jump!”
“What room is he in?”
“Get him down!”
It’s now or never. Jump, or suffer the misery.
The doorman to the hotel is clearing people away from the building; more people are staring and screaming.
The height makes my head spin and I glance back over my shoulder. The doors leading from my hotel room onto the balcony are swung open, the curtains blowing in the breeze.
The hotel phone rings, starling me, and I almost lose my grip on the railing.
I refocus on my mission, and glance down again. Below me is the city street, cement and asphalt, ready to embrace me as I leap to my death.
The door to my hotel room slams open. “Hey, some guys going to jump off- Cole?” My best friend’s voice pierces my trance. My head whips around, and I see Luke standing in the doorway, the door swinging shut behind him. His face is covered in shock and disbelief.
“What are you doing?”
I turn my head back to the street. “Go away,” I mutter.
“Go. Away.” I say, gritting my teeth. Does he not understand that I want to do this?
I hear him take a couple steps closer to me. “Cole… I- I don’t understand.”
I don’t respond. Does anybody ever understand? I’d stopped telling people about my problems a long time ago; they never understood. They always thought I was a moody, hormonal teenager who was overreacting to minor problems.
“Talk to me,” Luke’s voice cracks.
“I can’t do it anymore, Lu,” I say, calling him by his childhood nickname, still facing the street, talking with my mouth to the wind.
“This! Live! All of it!” I burst out. “It’s too much.”
“Cole, please.” His voice is as raspy as mine. “Please, come back in. Talk to me. Don’t do this,” he steps closer to me, out of the hotel room and onto the balcony.
I blink, my eyes burning, and I can barley breathe. I’ve been planning this for a while, this is my only chance.
“I-I’m sorry, Lu,” I say, and take a step forward, letting go of the railing.