Guest Post by: Jo Oram
Jenna climbed the stairs, flight after flight leading her into the sky. The sun was setting over the city. Below, a million busy people were swarming through the streets, going home from school or work, meeting their friends and collecting their kids.
Pausing for breath, Jenna leaned over the railing, watching. She wondered how many of them would notice if she were to drop dead on that rooftop. She wondered how long it would take for someone to find her, if anyone would even miss her.
They would notice her if she dropped out of the sky though. Not the quiet, plain girl in the corner any more. Just a mess on the pavement. She would make an impact then. Jenna closed her eyes and gripped the rail, lifting her leg to climb onto the edge.
Jenna jumped, hearing a voice behind her. Her foot slipped, losing purchase on the edge, keeping her on the rooftop. Her heart pounded as she turned around.
“Are you okay?” A woman stood near the door.
Jenna scowled at her. “You a cop? Trying to stop me?”
The woman shook her head. “I’m not a cop.”
Jenna turned away. “Then leave me alone.”
“Watch then. Whatever. I don’t care.”
The woman moved closer. “It doesn’t hurt forever.”
“Like you’d know.” Jenna snorted.
“Try me.” The woman stood beside her, looking over the edge. “I know more than you think.”
Jenna shook her head. “I’ll just come back tomorrow. Or wait for you to go home. You can’t stay out here forever.”
“You’re wrong. About everything. You’ve got so much ahead of you. And you can be anything you want to be – a vet, a model, an artist.”
“You don’t know anything about me.”
“I know more than you think, Jenna.”
Jenna looked up. “Have we met?”
“Maybe a long time ago in a future that won’t happen if you jump.”
“Who are you?” Jenna stepped away from the edge, staring at the woman. She looked ordinary, more like a younger version of her own mother than a dangerous stalker.
“Someone who needs you to live. Whatever they say, Jenna, you don’t have to believe them. And you might not see it, but you’re beautiful. You’re clever. And you’re talented. You just need a little more time.” The woman smiled. “If you jump, you’ll miss it all. Your story will be short and sad. No first kiss. No career. You’ll never meet the father of your children and your children will never be born.”
“So they’ll never grow up to change the world. And neither will you. You’re special, Jenna. And there is only one way to prove that.”
Jenna took another step towards the door, both women reaching for it at the same time.
The woman smiled as she descended the stairs remembering the night twenty years earlier, when a woman she had never met decided to save her life.