Matthew sometimes would walk the bridge by his house, not because he wanted to fall, but because it gave him a feeling that could only be described as instability. His life was pretty boring and he felt like he needed something that would spice it up, so bridge-walking at night in the dim light from the street lamps seemed to be his best bet. He walked with his arms stretched out as he stumbled across, swaying left and right to keep balanced. He had run into incidents where he almost fell but every time that happened, someone would be on the other side and pull him back. Whether or not he knew them, there was always someone who pulled him back to the other side. The safe side. He didn't really care; it wasn't like he wanted to necessarily die. But sometimes he wondered what it would be like if he just let his body fall.
He imagined the feeling of flight and freedom. He imagined the wind flowing through his hair as his body slowly plummeted to the icy water below. He imagined the sound he'd make and the splash that he'd create from the fall. He imagined it all so much it could be considered unhealthy.
But he didn't want to die. No, not necessarily.
His thoughts are always clouded with darkness, whether he planned it or not. He could be watching a hockey game and his thoughts go from the terrible score to the inevitable cessation of life. That's something you'd call an existential crisis, although Matt didn't always freak out about it. Sometimes he let the thoughts take over because he was fascinated by them. He always wondered, so his thoughts gave him the little closure he could muster. He didn’t quite understand why his thoughts did that, but they just did, and he just went with it, not having a care in the world to give a damn.
Maybe that was a reason why he felt this way. The world was cruel enough as it is. No one truly cared about anyone else. No one watched out for anyone else. You see all of it on the news; about witnesses saying there was nothing they could do. Everyone knew something could have been done. Matthew might be a little on the dumb side but he wasn’t that dumb.
Today was a normal day for Matthew. He watched some sports on the television, made pancakes, played with Kumajiro, his pet bear, then once the sun started to go down, he slipped on his raggedy canvas shoes, throwing on a pullover with the hood covering his curls, blasting Indie music from his phone. He never locked his doors and he never brought his keys with him because he never knew what would happen when he’d go out. Maybe he’d actually fall and die on impact. How would people get inside his house to investigate? He wanted the authorities to have access to his place just to make it easier for them. If he ever died he’d want to make it easy on the investigation team, it’s the least he could do.
So, Matthew made his way to the bridge. To be quite honest, he had never driven across this thing. He didn’t know what the other side looked like. Maybe he’s missing so much on the other side of this big scrap of metal sheets suspended in the air over a wild current of water. He made a mental note that if he grew up a little bit more and stopped bridge-walking, he’d go see the other side.
The feeble lights that dangled down like a pendents were ever-so dull tonight. Maybe they needed to be changed out, or maybe this was a sign of some degree. Whatever it was, Matthew didn’t really care, so he proceeded to climb on the ledge. He got a few honks but he waved them off, sticking his arms out to the side as he sung along to a random song that played. He put one foot in front of the other, moving slowly across the green metal that wasn’t meant to hold a one hundred-thirty pound depressed Canadian lad.
Matthew faced the water, staring down as he began the chorus. He looked at the haunting waters below him and chuckled darkly, not fearing it at all. Was that weird; the fact that even as he stared death in the face, he wasn’t at all scared? He welcomed it, even if it happened too quick. It didn’t faze him at all.
“I’m pretty sure you don’t want lungs filled with water, yeah?” a voice asked behind him. Matthew glanced and saw a pale man standing with his hands in his pockets. “Gil.”
“Matt.” Matthew stared at the man, trying to figure him out. “If you’re here to tell me I shouldn’t, then I don’t want to hear it.”
The man shook his head. “I’ve seen you over here for a few weeks now and I wanted to come and say hi.” The man stepped closer. “Hi,” he said, smirking to no one but himself.
Matthew raised his eyebrow. “Hi.”
“So,” Gil started, getting up on the ledge, too, securing himself. “Why do you come up here?” Matthew shrugged, deciding to sit down on the ledge. Gil followed.
“I like it up here. Gives my life meaning. Gives it a bit of a risk.”
“Risk, you say?” Matthew nodded.
“I find it fascinating how much control I have over my own life. I could die if I wanted to or I could save myself.” Gil nodded at his words, staring down at the water below.
“Yeah, I hear you there. Sometimes I get too caught up in my thoughts and I just imagine how I can do anything to change my life so quickly,” Gil told him, chewing the inside of his lip. “Have you ever actually tried?”
“No. But many people believe I try and they always pull me back to the safe side.”
“Is it ever really safe?”
Matthew stared at the water. Gil was right; it was never safe. The world they lived in wasn’t safe at all. Why isn’t anyone saving him from society? Why are they saving him from his way out? Matthew didn’t understand the minds of the healthy and in return those people didn’t understand the minds of the sick.
“Is your life bad?” asked Gil, looking at Matthew with his unusually colored eyes.
Matthew shrugged. “My life isn’t particularly anything, you know? Nothing really going on for me to pity over. It’s especially colorless. It’s tremendously uninspiring. It’s—”
“Okay.” Gil stifled a laugh. “I think I got your point, blondie. But, if you’re life’s so boring, why don’t you spice things up?”
Matthew turned to Gil, his eyes fixated on the white haired man in front of him. “How old are you?”
Matthew asked again. “How old are you? You know, age? I’m twenty. How old are you?”
“Um, I’m about twenty-six,” Gil answered, raising an eyebrow at him.
“What do you do? Like job-wise.”
“I work at a warehouse.”
Matthew nodded. “Is that what you want to do for the rest of your life?”
Gil looked away, staring at the sky above him. “I mean it’s a pretty sweet job. But, I mean, I guess not.”
“Do you want to waste your life away doing boring warehouse stuff, when you could be doing something else?”
“I mean, I’ve always wanted to travel. I have enough money and a brother in Germany. I could go visit him.” Matthew smiled.
“If you can do something in life, do it. Don’t just sit around saying, I wish. Go forth and conquer.”
“Well,” Gil started. “Why don’t you do the same?”
Matthew sighed, looking out and up at the sky above him. “That’s because I can’t. You can, but I can’t. There’s nothing life can offer me that can change my mind in any way. I’m stuck and there’s nothing I can do to change it.”
“Well… why don’t you travel with me?”
“And be a burden?” asked Matthew. “This is my path and I must ride it through until the end.”
“Your path is to death. And that sucks.”
Matt didn’t answer him back, he only stood up and looked at the water below. He closed his eyes, feeling the wind blow back his coarse, wavy hair. He smiled slightly to no one but himself. Gil watched him for a couple of minutes before sighing, standing up next to the blond boy.
“I’ll come with you,” said Gil, who shoved his hands in his pockets.
“I said I’ll jump with you.”
“Who said anything about jumping?”
“You,” Gil stated, sticking out his hip as he looked at Matthew. “The way you speak and your body language is enough to tell me that you don’t want to be here. So I’ll come with you. Why go out alone?”
Matthew looked at Gil, confusion set deep into his face. “I don’t understand you. I’m just some stranger you met standing on a bridge. Why would you throw away your life for mine?”
“Why would you throw away your life to begin with?” Gil asked. Matthew turned fully towards him, raising an eyebrow. “Look, isn’t there something you want to do in life? Something that you can work towards?”
Matthew thought for a moment, thinking about anything that he could possible want to actually see — to actually do — in life that would get him to not fall. He got one, looking behind him at the other side. “I want to know what’s on the other side. Is it just more bridge or is there a city with big lights and beautiful trees? People with bakeries selling bread that smells like heaven and little kids running around laughing. I want to know.”
“Alright.” Gil grabbed Matthew by the waist, a smirk on his face. “If we survive, I’ll take you to the other side.”
“Gil,” Matthew started but Gil silenced him with a shake of his head.
“Countdown?” Matthew sighed, looking Gil in the eyes. Never did they tear them away. The whole time they were glued to each other, Gil holding onto Matthew tightly. “Ready?”
They counted together. “One… Two…”
Matthew finally closed his eyes, pressing his face against Gil’s chest, clinging to his shirt.
I wrote this about two or three months ago and I just now finished it. I have no other words about it.