It was the pitch darkness of the night. Ghastly whispers of cold winds and threatening screams of gawky doors it certainly was. My footsteps served as drumbeats to this gloomy music of the night. I could hear her footsteps too, from the distance. She rushed anxiously to the right corner. Having absolutely no idea where we were heading to, I followed her.
We passed by the girl’s bathroom beside the High School building. If I have seen correctly, there was a blood stain on the bathroom door.
The welcome mouth of death. That’s where she was heading to. Her every breath suffocated her and her each heartbeat pulled her down with its immense gravity. She was seeking freedom between the rotten cobwebs of inexistence.
Blood rushed to her face as I grabbed her shoulders. She was not fast enough to escape from me. I could feel her hot breath blowing right to my face. She looked angry and panicked. She squeezed her body to get out of my hold.
“Leave me alone! Isn’t it quite enough of you?”
She squealed. Her face was crimson. I took a stronger grip on her both shoulders.
“I mean no harm. I saw what Chloe and her lot did to you at art class.”
I said calmly.
“So did the whole class. No one ever said anything to her.”
She looked upset. It was quite odd to see her like this because she used to be a quiet, timid girl since the first day in our class.
“Because we are all bunch of cowards. No one would want to disagree with Sarah.”
I spat anything that came into mind. I couldn’t say anything comforting because she wasn’t even my friend and I still had no idea why I chased her. I intuitively knew that something bad was going to happen, and I just ran along to prevent it.
“I know this isn’t the first time. Sarah and her bullies dragged you to the bathroom, right?”
Her face glowed even more scarlet. She pursed her lips.
“You are humiliating me. It has been two years and you ask me what they did to me.”
“Don’t think that the whole world is against you.”
“They are. Don’t you see? And it will always be unless I disappear from the world like Sarah had said.”
“You believe her?”
She looked straight back at me. Her tears glistened. She gave me a crooked smile that flashed like a sharp blade.
“No one wants to disagree with Sarah, right?”
She shook her head and jerked to the right. Her jet black hair flew to all directions as she ran. I was flustered. I did not know what to do. Before I could figure out what this would turn out to be, my legs began to gallop toward her shadows. Was it out of sympathy? I guess not. I’m not emotional person and I always preferred to mind my own business. But something planted deep down in our souls from the day of Creation moved me and pulled me along the way. I had to do something.
There was a rumor in our town that her father was a drunk. The only thing he did was to drink and smoke and beat his wife. Naturally, the house sank to poverty. That was only what the classmates knew. They called her vagrant and scribbled curses on her desk. They grabbed her and washed her head with toilet water. No one ever said anything. Even our teacher did not want to disagree with Sarah’s lot, I guess.
We ran past the school courtyard. I could see her drawings rolling helplessly on the ground. I knew they did it out of jealousy and hatred. Sarah wanted to draw. But it turned out to be that a mere bullied vagrant had better talent than Princess Sarah. She glared at her vagrant. The vagrant was glowing with pride and pleasure, shyly announcing that she worked nearly two years on the artwork. She was finally going to have some reputation. No, but Princess Sarah would not permit it, in the name of her Highness! She kindly printed the royal stamp on the artwork (with her sneakers) and signed it with nearly 14 ounce with black paint. The paint splattered everywhere and the painting was baptized with darkness. Princess Sarah, to show her love to her dearest vagrant, kindly escorted her to the bathroom. Screams echoed but as everyone agreed two years before, no one ever wanted to disagree with Sarah.
When I finally found her, she was standing in the tip of the bridge. Black waters splashed under her feet and her black hair winded around her face. Her bare knees were vibrating in the breeze. Her face was burning and her white lips quivered. Her fragile body swayed first to the water and then to the bridge. Though she didn’t like to admit, she feared death as much as she feared life. Her ragged snicker scratched the bridge top and made a creaky noise.
What would I say to her? I am not an angle. I did not help her when her artwork was torn up and I wasn’t her friend. I preferred to mind my business and I would not take any risk in sake of sympathy or feelings.
But I did not want her to die. That was crystal clear.
I still did not know what to do.
“I’m sorry.” I whispered. She did not hear me. I fell to the floor as her heels punched me and she flew into the air. Her skirt waved in the wind and her stretched fingers pointed to the sky reproachfully. Her body flipped and the sky became her floor. But unfortunately the sky was not good at grounding humans. She was falling, falling, falling….and with a splash her body disappeared. The black ink of the lake swallowed her and the light of the sharp crescent was reflected in the surface. It looked as though the lake of deaths was grinning in his wicked satisfaction.
The life was cruel. I knew it, but she knew it better. She knew it only too well that she had to jump off from the bridge.
If I was going to do something, there was no time to spare. As her shoes disappeared to the water, I startled and remembered that I had to do something. I ran to the edge of the bridge and grabbed the emergency tube. I dived in.
The bitter taste of death. The water splashed and splattered. It was ice, ice cold and very, very black.
I dived deeper. The blackness enveloped me. I snatched her arms and went up to the surface. I seized the tube and made her do the same. Her hand slipped off the tube. She was helpless. She did not have any desire to grab the tube and swim back to the land. She was sinking back to the greedy hands of death.
I couldn’t do anything but plead, giving her reasons why she has to live. I shouted out everything that came into mind. She cannot see tomorrow’s sun if she dies today. She can’t know how tomorrow will be different if she collapses down to death. She can’t see her mother again. She can’t paint her new picture. She can’t see how her life will change if she gives up here.
I still wasn’t her friend and I wasn’t an angle. But in the sake of love and justice that existed in the first day of Creation I had to save the life that was collapsing right now.
She began to move her legs and swim on. It was hard for her to admit but sometimes desire to live was much stronger than desire to die, no matter how harsh and cruel life might be. We threw our bodies to the land. We smelt the sweet odor of the earth, where we belong. Panting and grunting, we sat up. Delicate shapes of circle spread in the surface as droplets of water rained down from our wet hairs. She was gasping and weeping in pain but it showed that she was still alive.
“You know what,” I suggested. “Maybe someone would want to disagree with Sarah.”
There. I’m sure I’ve got some bad influences from her. I became nosy and tripped over others’ business and took risk for mere sympathy. But that was the dept I had to pay for being a coward for past two years, ignoring things that were wrong.
“Shouldn’t you thank me?” I nudged her playfully. That’s another bad influence. I never joked before.
She smiled. It was a weak smile but it was not unhappy or sarcastic.
“What, for dragging me back to life that I did not want?” She snapped, but she was still smiling. I thought we would make great friends. Yes, I know it sounds crazy. But many crazy things happen.
She scooped the black water of the lake and cupped it.
The black water in her hands glittered and glimmered in gold. We gazed to the east horizon. The sun was rising with her abundant mercy and tenderness. She radiated the blessings of life to broken roofs and dirty bridge. The celebration of colors spread out before us. Red and blue, green and yellow, white and gold and any other colors that we shined in the glory of the morning. The colors of new life that had just begun.