#1405

Sometimes I dream I am trying to talk him down from the ledge. He stands facing the drop, body stiff against the wind, toes hanging over the edge of the roof. I can’t see his face but I imagine his eyes are open, staring out over the sleeping city with neither interest nor fear. I want to grasp his wrist and pull him back yet some instinct urges caution (to protect him? or myself?). Instead I bridge the space with my voice, begging him to stay, promising I can help if he’ll just give me a chance. He never answers me, though, nor acknowledges my presence. He doesn’t even move until inevitably I falter and fall silent, at a loss for more persuasive words, and even then it’s just the barest scrape of his heel moving over the ledge as if he might step out onto the air itself. He won’t, though, dream or no. He always falls, just as I always wake with the need to cry out a name I do not know; the newspapers never revealed the man’s identity. I am left haunted by the ghost of some stranger’s suicide, unable to shake the guilty suspicion that I could have helped him, had I come sooner into his life than the last few seconds of his plunge to the pavement.

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