Here's To Everyone Who Survives Reality

     People must have wondered what was wrong with me. I sat there in the pounding rain, head held in my hands and knees pulled up against my chest. Even though the sidewalk was wet and muddy, I sat. And as I sat, I wept. Surely someone noticed me. Just one person could come over and offer me a hand, an umbrella… hell; just having somebody ask what’s wrong would make me feel better. I’d probably accidentally explain my whole life story to a stranger who’d listen. Lightning laced through the sky like delicate threads of a spider web, and deep thunder added music to the scene, as if the sky were a staged light show. Or more a symphony of despair. I flipped open my cell phone, half dreading and half wishing my parents were calling and texting me to figure out where I was. But I knew it wouldn’t happen. It couldn't; not anymore.

     Nothing mattered anymore. Stuffing my cell phone in my pocket, I stood up, oblivious to the fact my clothes were dripping with rain water and that my dark hair hung limply in front of my face. My mascara was probably running down my cheeks like jet black tears, which I realized resembled the tumult of emotions raging on in my mind. The thought overwhelmed me; absolutely terrified me. Yet I kept moving. I stumbled toward a telephone pole with eerie determination. I grabbed on to it, wincing as a staple leftover from a flyer someone had posted sliced through the pad of my finger, and began climbing. A small group of people glanced curiously at me and began to watch. A few of them actually shouted at me to get down. When I reached the top, I looked down at them and laughed. The sound I made probably only came from people locked in asylums and I bit down on my lip, wondering what was wrong with me.

     “Oh, I see how it is," I began loudly, addressing the onlookers. "I sit down and cry and not one person bothers to notice me, yet I start doing something risky and who doesn’t notice me? All of you telling me to get down, save it. I know you just want to be able to tell the news reporters you ‘tried to stop her’ like a good citizen.” The growing crowd below murmured to each other. A few people started to walk away, shaking their heads, and a demented smile slowly spread across my face. That’s right, leave; you don’t want to get involved with this. You’ll read about it in the paper soon enough, anyway. As I hoisted myself onto one the six metal rods sticking out of the telephone pole, I wondered if I would get my article in the obituaries placed next to my parent’s. Maybe someone would make the connection and figure out the reason for all this.

     I unlaced my dirty, red Converse high tops and let them fall to the ground. If I got struck by lightning, I didn’t want the soles on my shoes to save me. I mean if I'm going to commit suicide, I'm going to do it right. The fact I had thought such a thing made me freeze for a split second. Some part of me, buried under the flood of anguish that had filled my very being when I heard of my parent's death, was screaming at me to stop. It's voice got weaker, softer, beginning to crack as its pleas got more desperate. Finally, it quieted. Pausing a moment to reorganize my thoughts, I looked down and decided to make a foul gesture at a chubby man waving his fist at me to "come down this instant!"

     "Don't even pretend to be my parents," I said with disgust, spitting in his direction and becoming fully aware of just how high up  I had climbed. I quickly overcame the sense of fear with determination. I held up my cell phone, flashed my big, metal belt buckle; anything that could increase my chances of being struck by lightning. The thunder gave my little show a soundtrack that sounded like it could come from the movie Jaws; something that would make the spectators anxious and nervous.

I slumped down and pouted dejectedly, cursing my seemingly bad luck. Everyone’s heard that getting struck by lightning was a rare occurrence, but you’d think dangling all the metal you can find on you would coax a bolt over. I peered down at the crowd, which was staring at me as if I were a rare breed of animal. A few people were videotaping me on their phones; another was talking frantically into their own. Whether they had just called a friend, or had dialed 911, I wasn’t sure. I was too high to hear. And finally, I acknowledged the tears that ran in rivulets down my face, realizing that I didn't at all want to commit suicide. I wanted my Mommy and Daddy. But what could I do now that I've put myself in such an awkward situation? People surely won't just let me climb down and wave the incident away as a little, insignificant drama. Where would I go, what could I possibly do? I have no family, I had always been home schooled, so I really wasn't friends with any kids my age. I was utterly alone.

The End

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