Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: GET COLD FEET (10/12/17)
- TITLE: Just a Step Away
By Bonnie Bowden
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The wind whips a strand of hair into my face and gets stuck to my tears. I forget and look down. Ironically I picked this spot to jump even though I’m afraid of heights. My muscles tense. Dark anxiety coils in the pit of my stomach.
The air thickens and it’s hard to breathe, like I’m sucking in honey and it’s seeping into my lungs. If only I can punish myself enough to pay for my sins, maybe God could love me.
From behind me, I can hear the swish of underbrush. I take in a musky, earthy scent.
“Hi. My name is Jonah. I work as a forest ranger. I’m here to listen.” His voice a smooth baritone laced with concern.
“Miss, what is your name?”
“How old are you?
“Do you have any family?”
“My family would be better off without me. They all blame me for ruining their lives. It’s like nobody sees me, only the torment and anguish I’ve put them through.” I can’t stop the pain; my head feels like it’s in a vice being squeezed harder and harder. Life’s crushing me, folding me, twisting me.
“I know you are tired Jade, but I don’t want you to die. I hate that you have to live with so much pain. I need you to focus, focus on breathing. Just think about that. I need you to try.”
I start to take in a small amount of air and count out … one … two … three, but my chest sinks inward. ”Can’t you see it’s not going to work?” My thoughts come back like a cancer, gnawing at my brain. ”
“Jade, I just need you to come down from that cliff. We can talk this out and figure this out.”
“Don’t you get it? I deserve this. I don’t know what’s right anymore. Everything is clouded.”
“I may not be able to understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and want to help. Have you ever shared your feelings with anyone?”
“No. Nobody would understand. Nobody. Everyone would be better off if I were dead.”
“I wouldn’t be. I don’t want you to die.”
“Maybe, but …”
”Can you give me your hand? I’m not going to touch you.”
I hear sirens in the background as I back away from the edge. I feel strong arms pulling me to safety.
“You’re not in trouble. You’re going to the hospital to talk to some people.”
For more resources on suicide prevention, please visit afsp.org or call the National (U.S.) Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 or call 911. In Australi
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