People pass by me, without seeing how scared I am. I feel glued to the cool floor as I watch the doors automatically opening and closing for the living. I wonder if he's reached his car yet. If he's gone now.
This wasn't supposed to happen. My death was not supposed to have happened this way. People were not supposed to care, they weren't supposed to feel guilty over it. I thought I was disconnecting myself from everyone when I let go of the balcony.
"Why?" This time it is me asking the question, not some eerie disembodied voice. "Why?!" I can feel the tears coming and I pound the floor under me. I throw my heart into the tantrum, feeling every wall break down in the dam that was once so strong around my heart. I feel regret, anger, disappointment, disgust. Why could I never do anything right?
"When you're done with the pity party, miss," a man's voice stops me mid-sob and I look up, "I would advise you to lift yourself up from the floor and free the road for other wanderers."
"Who are you?" I ask, taking in the same hospital gown that I'm wearing. His black hair is matted to his forehead and his grey eyes study me cautiously. "How can you see me?"
He clucks his tongue and walks closer to me. From here I can see various scars patterning his arms and legs. He also has a severe tan that makes him look extremely exotic. "You know, it isn't polite to stare," he says and instantly I turn my eyes away from him. "You're new around here. We wondered when you'd come out again."
"I've been here for a few days."
"Right, the suicide," he chuckles. "If only the rest of us were like you; so willing to end our lives."
I stare blankly at him. "I can't be the only one here that tried it."
"No, but you're the only one asking questions of the Dean."
"The big guy up there," he looks up at the ceiling to emphasize his point. I realize how much taller he is than me with that gesture. "He, sometimes a she, asks you all these things."
"Aha," he gives me a conspiratorial look. "That depends on what the listener is asking."
"But I haven't asked anything."
"Hm, you must have because from what I've heard, you're his, or whatever's, latest project."
For a brief moment I forget about James and wonder what this stranger is trying to say.
"Basically," he lowers his voice and bends down until his face is levelled with mine. "You ask and they help. You know? Like an A&Q thing?"
I shake my head. "I'm sorry, who are you again?"
He regains his straight rod posture and smiles. "I'm Fuller."
"Les Fuller. My parents had a sick sense of humour."
"And why are you here, if you don't mind me asking?"
"Let's just say that you should check for anything that might trip you when you're working near a lawnmower."
I flinch and he rolls his eyes.
"Whatever," he says nonchalantly. "It happens. But listen, really, you need to finish with your whole drama act because you've got visitors up there."
I stare at him questioningly but he only shrugs before waving a quick 'bye and disappearing in front of me. That was something new for me.
Turns out Les is right, I do have visitors. In fact, the moment I step through my door into the brightly lit room the scent of Channel N.5 and Ralph Lauren for Men sweep my senses. Before I can prepare myself fully, I am faced with my two well-dressed parents and their very disappointed faces.