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    CarlHoliday
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Dave - 1. Chapter 1

Do you ever get the feeling your glasses are going to drop off your face if you look down from some place high, like a bridge railing? I get that feeling. I get a lot of other feelings when I’m up high. I don’t like heights and I had to help my father string Christmas lights on the gutters every year. I had to use a twenty foot extension ladder to reach the gutters. I nearly pissed my pants every Christmas putting up and taking down those lights.

“You’re a sissy, Jerry,” Dad always said. “What are you going to do when you’re out on your own and need to change a light bulb? Call in a handyman? Or, live in the dark? I’ll never understand how I ended up with a sissy for a son.”

Dad was like that and then he had a coronary and died. I still put up the lights for mother. It’s the least her sissy son can do for her at Christmas. It’s not like either of my older brothers are going to help her.

Anyway, I’m up on the Aurora Bridge with my boyfriend, Dave, and we’re looking over the railing. It’s over one hundred feet to Lake Union, but the shoreline on either side isn’t so far, not that it would matter if you jumped. The Aurora Bridge is a pretty popular jumping place because it’s so accessible. I’m not thinking of jumping, but Dave is. Only, I don’t know that, yet.

I met Dave in our English Comp class at North Park College where we’re both freshmen. He’s from Othello, Washington, which is a small city in the Columbia Basin on the other side of the mountains. He’s skinny, not anorexic skinny, but very slender and he’s short, too. I’m not that tall, just under six feet, but Dave barely comes up to my shoulders. If it wasn’t for his full beard of black, curly hair, he might look like a twelve year old.

He knows next to nothing about Seattle, so we go for walks around the city on Saturdays. It’s either that or go to a stupid football game and watch the North Park Loggers get clobbered by nearly every team in our league of small private colleges. We were even beaten by Fort Okanogan and you have to practically have a 4.0 GPA just to have your application looked at there, let alone get admitted. How many football players do you know who have 4.0 GPAs?

Today we took the Campus Flyer down to the junction and then caught the number seventeen bus down to Fremont. It’s a real artsy community in Seattle and there are lots of shops and other interesting places to explore. They even have a troll up under the north end of the Aurora Bridge. We spent nearly six hours wandering around Fremont and over on the other side of the Ship Canal, where there aren’t a lot of things to see, but we did climb up the hill to walk across the bridge.

About halfway across, Dave stopped and leaned over the railing. I just looked at the view. I know my glasses aren’t going to fall off my face, but you can’t be too careful. They’re expensive and Mom will have a tizzy if she had to buy me another pair because they fell off my face.

“Have you ever imagined what would go through your mind if you jumped and had to watch the ground speeding toward you?” Dave asked.

“No, why would I want to think about something as horrible as that,” I said. “You’re not thinking shit like that, are you?”

“My dad says I’m a loser who will never amount to anything.”

He’s got his foot on the bottom rung of the railing. He’s gripping the top railing like he’s going to pull himself over.

“What the fuck are you doing?” I ask.

I grab him, but he’s struggling with me. I can’t imagine he’s struggling to get away from me so he can jump. A blur of images flood my mind as I try to get a firm hold on him and pull him away from the railing. Cars speeding by honk their horns. I can imagine the people waving and wishing they were down on Westlake, Nickerson, or Northlake to watch Dave fall.

Finally, I get myself between him and the railing. Tears flood into his eyes.

“You’ve got to let me go!” He yells at me. “I can’t take anymore of this shit.”

I pull him into me and hold his trembling body against mine. He’s incoherent, babbling meaningless words in a jumble of bawling and sputtering. I feel his tears soaking my t-shirt, but I refuse to let him go.

A police car pulls to a stop in front of us and one of the officers gets out. She walks towards us and asks, “Do you need any help?”

I suppose they see a lot of people up here trying to jump and have to stop them, as I’m doing with Dave. Only, I don’t want their help, so I say, “No, it’s alright. He’s afraid of heights.”

“Are you sure? It looked kind of like he was trying to jump.”

“No, it’s nothing like that. He’s just scared.”

“Come on, get in the car, we’ll take you to the other side.”

Dave is whimpering, now. He leans against me as I help him into the car. They stop at the bus stop and we get out.

“Are you sure he’s okay?” The officer asks.

“Yeah, he’ll be okay,” I say. “I forgot he get hysterical crossing bridges.”

I set Dave down on the bench and sit beside him to wait for the bus. It’ll take us up to One Hundred Fifteenth where we can walk over to my house. Dave is leaning against me and I put an arm around him, pulling him into my side. He’s stopped crying, but I’m not certain what to do. I know he didn’t need to go with the police. They’d have taken him to the County General psych ward and that’s the last place I’d let Dave go.

“Thank you,” Dave whispers.

“It’s okay. It’ll be okay. I’ll keep you safe.”

“Okay.”

The End

Copyright © 2011 CarlHoliday; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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On 01/24/2016 08:34 AM, skinnydragon said:

Everyone needs that person they know will keep them safe.

Thanks for the review.

 

I haven't read this story for a long time. Although it say it was published in January 2011, it was written many years before that, but was inadvertently dropped from the system when an upgrade occurred and I was out of touch of GA due to a personal situation. In many ways, Dave and Jerry are composites of myself. My fear of heights is based on my fear of jumping.

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