I'm not exactly sure what happened first–either the wind swept through me or I swept through the wind, but who’s accounting for these things anyway when the sky forces you down so fast you can hardly breathe. For as swiftly as it slams through your face, pushes the air from your rib cage, tears it all from the pink flesh inside your lungs, it really is such a sweet act of desperation. Just object and atmosphere, together at last.
My hair flew wildly behind me as, floor by floor, the luxury high rises applauded my way down down down. The wind: clapping. The balconies: clapping. The tiles, the thick gray windows, the errant pigeon: clapping, clapping, clapping. The smooth cement sideways and the slick mirrored glass of the buildings shimmered my path out before me. Right this way, they whispered, faster faster faster.
I felt my past lives travel away and behind me the way a slug leaves tracks across a pathway, the iridescent mucus a physical mark of its journey and how it has moved from point a to point b. In circles and circuits, with a slight air of mischief, these physical echoes continue to spiral out from my body as I plummet. My past lives gathered together to perch precariously up on that ledge, an infinite number of my toes clenched tightly together, all wondering, in the beautiful and richly layered unison of a church choir should I, should I, should I? And finally the angelic, resounding, sublime, yes.
And I know people will say of these past mes: I saw you so happy, with my own eyes, how could you do this to the people who loved you, you shouldn’t have, that day, that way, that high. But these lives were as far away from me then as they are now, stories above and hovering in complacency, no returning to or getting back to, no. They were never me, just iterations of me that other people could grab a hold of, feel softly under their fingers, roll through their palms like a smooth and comfortable marble. But always askew, not quite right, a bunch of fakes. Never ever me.
No one will lose much sleep over me. They are forgetting me even as they begin to ask why. It will be my son they lament, him never completing an entire rotation around the sun. They will cry and throw their bodies on his grave, begging his small body to forgive me, to see past what I’ve done. They will name future children after him. They will knit blankets in his honor and take to bed for days to cry his tears. They will tattoo images of his face across their backs and grow gardens in his likeness. The will feel hungry for him, for the loss of him, for all that he never did.
But what they won’t know is that there is a version of me that doesn’t jump, that only holds this baby tightly in it’s arms miles above a dark city. In the deep shadows, he smiles up at me, feeling the breeze of the city’s wind zip like a feather up his cheek. What they won’t know is that there is a version of me that stands there unafraid even as it teeters moments away from the final descent. What they won’t know is that we fell so easy from that rooftop, ready to float like Icarus away from the sun. My weakness an honor to ride across that sky for even the briefest moment.