Beneath the SurfaceMature

Walter learns a lesson in this short story.

I don’t want to have the same sub that I have everyday. At the same place. In the same city. At the same time. So…where to go for lunch today?

Walter contemplated his lunch choices. There were several places he could go to eat, but he was picky. He wanted American food. That shouldn’t be so hard to get in America, but for some reason, there were more oriental restaurants on one street than there were in the whole city.

Walter’s thoughts were interrupted by the large crowd of people gathered in front of the building. The skyscraper was a small one when compared to the others around town, but it fit enough for Walter’s workplace. He didn’t really care too much. He worked for an insurance corporation and he was one of those men that just wished he worked somewhere else. Anywhere else.

As his eyes moved up to the sky, his heart dropped. There was a man standing outside an open window on a ledge. Walter didn’t even realize the ledge was on the floor he worked on. He only looked at the man, trying to make sense of his shock. He knew the man. He swore he knew him.

“Brian?” He yells. People turned and looked at Walter, but quickly looked back at the man, thinking that perhaps he may have jumped while they weren’t looking. 

It’s Brian, thought Walter. He ran back into the building without thinking. He knew it was Brian, a good friend that he worked with. He knew that Brian had been going through some tough times lately, but he didn’t know what was going on entirely. He wished that he did. He ran ideas through his head as he ran, of what he could have done had he known, had he bothered to care about someone besides himself. If he stopped caring about what he ate every day or stopped complaining to Brian continuously about how bad his job sucked, he could have heard Brian. He could have heard what he couldn’t say.

Punching himself for being so selfish, he busted through the door of Brian’s office, finding the window wide open.

“Brian!” Walter screamed in panic. Don’t let me be too late. Please don’t let me be too late. He ran to the window and poked his head out. “BRIAN!”

“Walter?” Brian looked over. He looked scared, like he wasn’t ready to do it. His bright blue eyes were wide with terror as he swallowed, his long hair billowing in the wind.

“Brian, listen to me. Come down from there. Please. Don’t do it.” Walter’s breaths were coming out in heaves, his words staggered. “I’m sorry. I’ll help you, I promise. I known I act like a selfish asshole, but please just…don’t do it.”

“Walter, you don’t understand…”

“Look at me, Brian.” Brian looked. “I need you here. People care about you here. It isn’t time for you to go yet. Please, just please.” Walter began to lose control, he began to shake and he struggled to keep from crying. “Please, Brian. You don’t want to do it…you don’t want to…”

Looking at Walter, Brian saw emotion in his friend. Genuine emotion. Something besides complaining about nothing, something besides selfishness. He saw that Walter did care. Even if he didn’t understand. He cared. I’m not alone here.

“Walter, move. I’m coming back in!”


When Walter saw Brian enter back in through the window, he burst into tears and collapsed to his knees as the crowd from down below cheered. Brian came over to him and they embraced.

Suddenly, oriental food didn’t seem so bad for lunch.

The End

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