“Good afternoon,” the older gentleman stranger said to the man with his back facing him. Before them lay forest as far as the eye could see.
The older silver-haired mustachioed gentleman name was Martin. Martin strode forward and looked down into the ravine. It was difficult to see the bottom. The other man stood facing outward in silence, not answering the older man. He could see a folded piece of paper with a name on it. Corey it read very neatly.
“Pretty, isn’t it,” Martin asked Corey.
“I guess,” Corey responded with a lazy shrug.
Martin beamed as he took in the scenery. “First time here?”
Corey’s eyes dipped as he started to contemplate and remember. “Not exactly,” he said finally
“The first time I came here was over 30 years ago,” Martin replied in a sing song type of way.
“Nine years ago for me,” Corey responded, deep in thought.”
“Is that so,” Martin asked warmly with a smile. The sky started to change colors rapidly from blue to orange to purple. The sunset was breathtaking as it yawned to rest for the night.
“Yeah. Proposed to my wife actually.”
“Oh,” Martin exclaimed. “Is she here?”
“Well, I’ve been waiting for her here for over four hours. I get the feeling she’s not coming.”
Corey turned and nodded solemnly. “I don’t feel like talking about it right now.”
“I see,” Martin said, taking careful care notice to Corey’s hands. They gripped the railing overlooking the ravine below. “Then what do you want to talk about?”
“This view,” Corey said instantly. “It’s so picturesque. It’s nature. That is perfection and we’re of this world and we somehow are not perfect. You ever wonder about that,” Corey asked, turning back to Martin. “Why are we imperfect and the world is perfect?
“It’s the choices we make,” Martin said slowly and carefully. “The perceptions we have about ourselves.”
“Then why do I feel worthless,” Corey asked, eyes brimming with tears.
“You hurt your wife,” Martin said quietly.
“Heartbreak,” Corey said after he swallowed the admission. “I broke her heart. I screwed up real bad.”
“We all screw up,” Martin said. “That’s just human nature.”
Corey gripped the railing and twisted his head. The sky flared with a fiery hue across his glassy pupils.
“Yeah. See, I can’t see how human nature screws up, but the view here is simply divine.” Corey’s heart raced as a memory replayed in his head. “That’s what my wife said when I proposed to her here. The view was a metaphor for our relationship. Gorgeous. Breathtaking. Timely. But now the sun is setting on my mistake, and it’s getting real cold.”
Corey’s breath became ragged and harsh. The sun sank slowly behind the horizon. The old man frowned with his clear concern. “It’s really easy to look at the now,” Martin said after a moment of silence. “You do not know what will become.”
“Put it this way, stranger. I left my mark on her and her absence means she’s not interested in reconciling. So you’ll have to forgive me if I feel like garbage. And I understand why.”
Security entered the space and seeing the two gentlemen. Martin spun around and shot his hand out with an open palm, signaling not to make a sound. The security guard whispered into his walkie for assistance.
“So, is this the way,” Martin asked finally.
“It just might be,” Corey whispered.
“There’s more to it,” Martin said confidently. “There always is, speaking from my experience.” Security and police officers crept into the space, silently communicating with one another on how to proceed with Corey.
“Not interested in sticking around to find out,” Corey said, leaping to the top railing.
“Wait,” Martin screamed. “You don’t have to do this.”
The sun had vanished and Corey let out a deep sigh. “I’m really here.”
“Corey,” a woman’s voice called out from behind the security officers.
Corey spun around on the rails to see a slender woman with black hair. He squinted to get a good sight at the woman he knew to be his wife.
“Sarah,” Corey said. Martin and the others stood by, waiting anxiously. “The sun set.”
“It did,” Sarah said.
“I know you are,” she replied. “Come off the railing, Corey.”
“You didn’t accept my apology.”
“I don’t see why I should.” The security officers tensed on her statement. “But that doesn’t mean you need to threaten your own life. I also don’t see why I need to expose myself in front of all these people after what you did.”
“Stop apologizing. It’s making me furious.”
“Please step down,” Martin said. “She clearly wants to talk to you.”
“Don’t speak for me,” Sarah snapped. “You don’t know what happened or why.”
“Can we agree that a life doesn’t have to go to waste,” Martin asked.
“Stop speaking, please,” Sarah said. Her face was hardened with anguish. “I said get off the railing, Corey. On this side. Now.”
Corey took a deep breath and leapt off on to solid ground. He kept a healthy difference from her.
“You think after all this you can just come here and then choose to end it all? That’s not how this works,” Sarah said to Corey. “You come here? Embarrass me in front of strangers and then you choose to end it all? You can’t help yourself, can you?”
“I made a mistake,” Corey said.
“You keep making mistakes, Corey,” Sarah replied. “There’s nothing wrong with mistakes, but your mistakes are costing me my life now. I should be the one jumping!” Sarah’s eyes grew glassy. “I came because I knew you would do something like this, but I didn’t come until sunset because I can’t continue with you.”
“You’ve already did your part and this is mine.” Corey’s throat grew thick with grief. “I’m leaving. Go get help.”
Sarah pushed her way through the crowd while Corey’s eyes began to stream. He pushed through with arms and hands outstretched towards her, calling Sarah’s name. Corey fought one officer, then two then eventually the whole squad while the sky transformed into a soft, cool, purple hue.
Corey fought until all his energy had been spent. Night had fallen.
“Corey, it’s me. Martin. I know this isn’t the way you hoped for this to go, but this is not the end. This is where the real work starts. I’m with you. I’m always with you. I’m gonna be there until you get better because I know there is something better for you on the other side. And I’ll be there every step of the way. You are loved.”