It was 2017. I never saw her enter, and I didn’t stay long enough to see her physically exit.
I was sitting in the atrium of a building whose name I don’t care to remember below the massive glass ceiling that flooded its multi-story floors with sunlight. I was watching people weaving between each other, exiting and entering, when I noticed someone above us perch themselves on a railing, their feet dangling in the space well above 6th floor. The blinding sunlight prevented me from making out their specific features, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that they were going to fall. The worst part of it is that deep down, I wanted them to.
I shrugged off the evil thought and hastily yielded to being a good samaritan. I looked around at anyone who also may have been just as “concerned” I was for them, but found no one. No one looked up. No one saw them.
Or…do they just don’t want to? I wondered. Do I shout and make a scene and risk looking like I’m crazy? Is my imagination getting the best of me? Am I being too emotional or is my intuition right? Why, deep down -to my own shame-, do I want them to fall?
It happens in less than a second. I see them bury their face in the palm of their hands and look up toward the sky as if muttering a prayer to some unseen deity before leaning their full weight off the railing to a grotesque smack to the tiled floor below.
Now, everyone can see them, or her, I can now say. The people thrust into chaotic intermission scrambling toward her. A symphony of gasps and screams to get help flood the area: “Somebody call 911!” “Did anybody see what happened?” “Did anybody see her?”
I, however, could barely breathe let alone respond. I push past the crowd until I saw her face to face, or myself, I now confess.
It makes sense now.That’s why I wanted her to jump.
Staring at my own lifeless body on the floor, my initial shock and sorrow metamorph into relief as the scene fades.
It’s over, I think. Good. It’s finally over.
When I entered back into reality, I returned my attention to the sermon the preacher was preaching during that Sunday’s service.
It doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s still more often than I’d like to admit. I fade back into reality as seamlessly as I left it. Not just during church service either, birthday parties, social gatherings, class, work, you name it. I try not to step too close to the edge of train tracks for fear that one day I’ll “fall” in. Same goes with being on someone’s rooftop or you guessed it railings.
I don’t always feel like jumping. My last planned suicide attempt was actually cutting. It sometimes starts as a simple curiosity as to whether or not the impact would be enough to kill me. But unless I told you, you would never know that.
God didn’t strike me down for such a thought. Or punished me because I wasn’t paying attention. He didn’t rescind His love or grace or mercy or tell me I wasn’t trying hard enough. He didn’t thunder from heaven telling me to leave His place of worship. He didn’t waive His mighty finger in my face and tell me how bad of a person or follower I was. No, He sat with me. He was patient with me. He saw the real me and loved me then and there and whispered I created MY church for the broken like you. For the hurting like you. For the forgotten like you.
It’s easy to forget in the midst of stained glass windows, worn down pews and choir of voices that I am ultimately human. I bring to the world my baggage and my trophies, my tears and my smiles, my beginning, my middle and my end. As do you.
I disguise my illness with my many “good” qualities. It’s unintentional mostly, but they’ve been a default survival technique for me in uncomfortable situations. At social gatherings, I busy my hands with helping set up, clean up or organizing so I can avoid the draining energy of the moving faces around me. If an assignment or task must be completed, I over-prepare as to not miss a detail or requirement-that means hours outside the regular schedule, unnecessary necessary research, not to mention Plan B’s and Plan C’s. In a crowd of 2, if we are both sad or frustrated, I will opt to hear about your struggling love life instead of mentioning my conversation with suicide crisis hotline the night prior.
Because I give without expecting recompense, narcissists love me.
Because I genuinely care about someone else’s needs often before my own, “takers” flock to me.
Because I am willing to listen and understand, clingy people make me their dump truck.
Over the years, I’ve grown away from these and other personality types though they rear their ugly every now and again. What can I say? It’s my nature to help. It doesn’t mean I’m sinless, but it gets me into more trouble than I’d like.