You know, I'm terrified of falling.
It's one of my biggest fears that I'll fall, it's not the heights that I'm afraid of, I can go on a high building or in a glass lift or anything like that that you care to think of, heights aren't the problem, but if I get near the edge all I can see is me falling, all I feel is me falling, the wind through my hair and the screams that rip at my throat as I go towards the ground. Then I jerk and I wake myself up from my waking dream and I pull myself away from the side and I just stand there for a moment to get my breath back.
I wake up screaming every night because every night I dream that I'm falling without a hope in the world, that I'm heading towards the ground and I know that even though it's only a dream if I hit the ground that's the end of me, that I'll be gone forever. I guess you could say I'm scared of dying too.
I think I know where my fear of falling came from; I had a friend once… she was called Cassie. She fell. But not like you think… Cassie threw herself off a building; she left me a note before she did it. We were only young…12, where does a 12 year old get an idea like that? It was a tall building. I wonder if Cassie felt the same things I feel in my dream when she fell…
I miss her all the time you know.
I never found out why she did it.
After I lost her I was never really the same. Couldn't connect with other people as I did with Cassie, but I still have friends but they can't replace her, she was my everything, my world.
I think that I loved her.
When I think about it, which lately is more and more, I always wonder why she picked to fall, I mean you're awake on the way down… and you can see the ground and god... it must be so terrifying, so horrible, my dreams are awful, imagine if I was doing it for real? I don't know how she did it.
I often go up to the building she jumped from, it's an old office block, abandoned now and derelict, it's supposed to be all blocked up but that's a load of rubbish anyone can get in here, anyone can get onto the roof. I'm sitting on the roof now, it's really cold, and I'm smoking a secret cigarette to keep me warm. Cass would hate me if she saw me now; I can see the look on her face, "smoking?" She'd say. "That's such a disgusting habit." Or maybe she'd be up here smoking secret cigarettes with me; I guess I'll never know.
I should probably get up and go home but I don't want to move, when I'm here it's like the closest to Cassie I'm ever going to get again, it was her last place where she thought her last words and where she left me her last message. Can you guess what it was?
I love you.
I found the note in the scarf she always used to wear the first time I came up here. It was balled up in a corner and my only thought was "why did she leave it?" I bought her that scarf, with my own money and everything, she said she loved it. Wore it all the time, now I wear it all the time, it reminds me that I'll always have part of her forever.
Oh Cassie I miss you so much.
Why'd you fall?
Mom says I should get over my fears, and she says the only way I can is by having it happen so does that mean I need to fall and I need to die? I'm not sure she meant it like that, I'm not sure she'd want to lose me.
So I get up and I stretch, I'm getting stiff sitting here in my spot, and I'm still thinking about you and I'm still smoking my secret cigarette, its funny really, I don't even like them, so why do I do it? Futile way of trying to die? So I take one last drag and throw it at the side of the building, it lands on the ledge and rolls slightly in the wind but doesn't roll off. Damn. Now I'm going to have to go near the edge and tip it off…
Except I can't do that can I? Because I'm too scared of going near the edge because of the falling dreams, this is so stupid. Mom's right I should get over this fear.
I edge towards the side now; I can do this I know I can. Cassie, you know I can do this right?
No I can't.
Back to my corner I got and I huddle myself there against the cold. I should go home but I don't want too…home isn't near to you Cassie. It's never been near you.
I remember when I found out, me and Cassie always met up inside the bus shelter and walked the rest of the way to school with each other. She died on a Sunday night…she jumped on a Sunday night. I found out on Monday morning. I'd been laughing in the kitchen with my mom and the phone rang, and mom picked it up, I heard her talking softly but I didn't really pay much attention, that's when I'd noticed the time, I was late for Cassie! So I stuffed the rest of my toast in my mouth and grabbed my school bag ready to run out the door when mom came back in the kitchen.
"Bye! I got to go! I'm late for Cassie; I don't want her to get mad." I'd smiled and started to head for the door but mom moved to stand in my way. "What're you doing mom?" I'd asked. "You're going to make me later!"
"Cassie won't be waiting today."
I'd frowned. What did she mean? Cassie was always there. "What are you talking about?"
"That was… that was Cassie mother who just phoned. Cassie won't be at school, she had an accident."
"Oh no! I have to go and see her! What happened?!"
"Sweetheart, there's no easy way to say this, Cassie…fell from a building. Sweetheart Cassie died last night."
I'd backed away. She was lying, she had to be lying, Cassie would never leave me. Not like that. She was my best friend, we'd be together forever. "You're lying."
I'd run then, as fast as I could, I knocked past mom and ran towards the door, I was going to see Cassie, she was going to be waiting at the bus stop for me like always, and we were going to walk to school together because this was just some sick joke. It was just a joke because I knew she'd never leave me. I ran all the way to the bus stop and she wasn't there.
I think that was the moment, that day, that I realised my mom hadn't been lying, it wasn't some sick joke, it was real. My Cassie. Gone. She left without me, we always said we'd be together, we'd die together, but now that would never happen.
After that my memory somewhat blurs, I remember collapsing to the ground crying, and beating it with my fists until they bled but I don't remember much else. I think my mom and dad must have found me eventually and took me home, but I was too upset to remember what happened, too upset to move, too upset to even think.
I just couldn't get my head around it. How could she leave me?
I didn't go to school for the next two weeks and I didn't go to her funeral, I know that seems cold but it was because I didn't want to say goodbye, because that would have meant I'd be letting her go and I wasn't ready to let her go. Not then, not ever.
After a while I started to bunk off school, it wasn't the same without Cassie in my lessons, or to walk with Cassie there. Her memory was always there so I used to run from it. Eventually I found out that this was the building she'd jumped from, I remember us talking about going to look around it, and I guess she'd already done that. I started coming here when I skipped classes; I started coming here after school if I'd gone. I spend most of my time here now, we're going on 3 years since your death Cassie and I'm still coming here.
I come up here and I smoke my secret cigarettes and I think about you, occasionally I'll yell at you and I'll talk to you about my day, and I'll imagine your smile, and your laugh, and what you'd look like now.
I wonder where you ended up Cassie.
She always used to believe in Heaven and Hell and all that sort of stuff, her other favourite was reincarnation; she always said that if we got separated and lost the other then we'd be reincarnated and find each other again. I think she was wrong, because she hasn't found me again, she promised she would but it never happened. Maybe she doesn't want to find me; she said that if we were reincarnated that we might not realise that we knew each other, but we'd get a feeling. I never had the same feeling for anyone since Cassie, I don't feel anything for anyone except her, and she's not even here anymore.
It kind of hurts.
So now I'm standing, back against the cold wind and looking at the edge which is directly in front of me, a few more steps and I'd be there. So I walk it, I walk to the edge and I sit there with my back to the edge and then I slowly turn myself around, I can do this. I swing my legs over the side and there I am. Sitting on the edge of this building, the building Cassie jumped from 3 years ago. I'm not afraid of the heights, just the falling.
It's always the falling.
I can't look down, I can't relive my dream yet, it's not time. So I have my eyes closed tightly and I can feel the wind at my back and the wind in my face and tears which are slowly making there way down my cheeks are being dried quickly. My hands are grasping at the edge, at the concrete that crumbles around my fingers, I wonder if Cassie felt the same thing? I can't move my hands, I'm so scared of falling, I'm so scared of opening my eyes and seeing my dream again. Why did I get on this ledge, I'm too scared to move and my legs are moving in the wind and I'm freezing. Why did I even come up here in the first place? To say goodbye? To who, to what?
Someone's yelling but I'm too scared to turn around.
"Kid! Don't do it!"
"Do what?" I call back. I'm not doing anything…
"Jump! You've got loads to live for I'm sure!"
I open my eyes, and make my hands un grab the side, carefully not looking over the edge, and turn my head, it's an oldish looking man, he's panting heavily and he looks vaguely panicked. "I'm not going to jump." I say.
"What are you doing on the edge then?!" He doesn't believe me, and maybe he's right not too. Am I going to jump? I'm not really sure at the moment.
"I'm thinking about her."
"Who's she?" He takes a step forward slowly, he's not panting so heavily anymore.
"Cassie." I look at him and I shiver when the wind hits my face harshly. "She jumped from here."
He takes another step forward and slowly starts to reach out towards me as he walks forward. "She jumped?"
"When was this?" He keeps moving towards me while he's talking.
"Almost three years… my Cassie."
"I think I remember that. You knew her?"
"She was my best friend!" I'm yelling suddenly, "she left me here!"
He suddenly moves towards me a lot faster, "sorry, I didn't mean to upset you. Don't do anything silly now."
I look at his eyes, they're soft, they're worried but they're not sad. He's never lost someone he loved, I can tell, but I ask anyway. "Have you ever lost anyone important to you?"
He moves closer still, "no." He says, "no I haven't."
"I could tell. Your eyes aren't sad." I turn my head to look at the building across from me, and then suddenly I understand what I have to do. I'm still scared, I'm still terrified of falling, but I know now that the fear will go. I stretch my hands and push myself backwards so that I'm standing away from the ledge again. I turn to look at the man, he looks so relieved but I can tell that his relief won't last long now. I know what I've got to do, Cassie showed me the way and I can't back down, I'm going to see her again.
I put a foot on the edge of the building. It's wide enough for me to sit on and it's wide enough for me to stand on. I pull myself up and spread my arms out, like a bird soaring in the wind. It feels good. Amazing actually. Everything in this world has beautiful things in it and sad things in it. I'm still starring at the building across from me, because it's still not time for me to face my fear and look down, soon it'll be time.
Not just yet though.
"KID!" The mans scared now. He doesn't understand.
I turn slightly, keeping my balance but so I can still look at him. He's reaching out his hand; his hand is about a foot away from me. "I'm fine." I say.
"You don't have to do this!"
I smile at him, "I'm facing my fears, and this is a good thing. Trust me."
"No! You'll die!"
I laugh and turn back to the building. "Thank you." I call into the wind.
Then I look down.
It's terrifying at first but then I step over the edge and I'm falling. It's just like my dream, except the grounds so much further away. I can hear the old man yelling in the wind, screaming hopelessly. I can feel the wind through my hair and I can hear all the sounds of the city, the cars the chattering, and the grounds much closer now.
I'm scared but not scared. It's difficult to explain.
I close my eyes for a minute and breathe in the air which is rushing past my ears; it's so loud, much louder than in my dream. It's amazing really. I wonder if this is what Cassie felt when she fell? I open my eyes again and this time I keep them open, I don't want to miss anything now. The ground is coming up fast now and I know that when I hit it I'm going to die.
But I'm not scared anymore. Falling feels amazing, like flying, it's exhilarating it's real. I actually like it. I think Cassie would have liked it too.
I smile. The grounds coming to meet me. I push out a hand and I stretch it, hoping it to reach it faster.
I lost my fear of falling…when I fell.