I was never that afraid of heights. Maybe that’s why I chose jumping off a building rather than a gun or pills.
24 floors, that should be high enough right? Not too high that I have too much time to think on the way down, but high enough that it will ensure I don’t get back up.
If there were a time and place to die, this would be it.
I had recently been touring with my band and it ended in Phoenix, my hometown. And despite the adoring fans, the sold out shows, the goosebumps I would get on stage, I just kept sinking lower and lower.
There was no escaping feeling blue, until tonight. As usual, I had a few beers and a couple bottles of wine to help with my writing process. Nothing came out, so I kept drinking. I turned on the tv and eventually it started talking to me. Nonsense at first, but then it began making some valid points. If I could no longer write and I’m too fucked up to do anything else there really wasn’t a reason to continue.
And that’s how I ended up on the balcony of this hotel, feeling the most peaceful and liberated than I had in god knows how long. The stars above me were shining so brightly, as if they knew and were trying to give me a spotlight for my big moment.
Of course I had the clichéd thoughts of family, friends, who would miss me when I’m gone. They came as fleeting thoughts, not because I didn’t care about them but because I knew the hurt they would go through when I went through with my plans. And if I thought about that for too long I would reconsider, and I really wanted to follow through with this.
But then I thought of Matt. The boy who had stolen my heart a year ago. Things didn’t work out between us but I had loved him more than anything in the world and despite everything I knew he loved me too.
The more I let myself think about him the more I was drawn into replaying our memories together. His hand rested on my face every time the wind blew by. His lips kissed mine every time I took a swig from the wine bottle. His voice began humming in my ears every time a car drove by on the street below.
And with each imagined memory of him being with me he became real. His silhouette beside me on the balcony, leaning against the railing and being charming as hell. We started talking about all the things that went wrong. It was mostly the timing, him getting out of a really bad relationship and me just coming to realize that I was gay. We admitted that we still cared for each other, and that’s when he confronted me about what I was doing.
‘Why are you up here, Zach?’
‘I don’t know anymore. The only things I can think of are so unoriginal it’s painful to say them out loud.’
I closed my eyes and began taking deeper breaths to help fight back the tears that I felt were going to happen soon.
‘You realize that none of those things actually matter, right? What matters is all the moments you’ve lived. The times you’ve felt alive, all of those together are so much more relevant to this decision than your feelings these past months. As soon as you embrace those thoughts you’ll see that you don’t actually want to die tonight; especially not in this way.’
‘But I do, Matt. There’s so much that I’m afraid of and if I do this all of those fears go away. I’m always so uncertain of everything but there’s just so much certainty in this.’
He sighed, ‘everyone’s afraid of everything, Zach. Please, for your sake, if no one else’s, go back inside and sleep it off.’
I thought about that for a second as I looked over the railing of the balcony. I took yet another deep breath, and hesitated.
***Inspired by 24 Floors by The Maine***