So I started a WIP a few months ago – I’m not sure why, but after a while I abandoned it. But today I went through all my computer files and there it was. I feel in love with the story all over again, enough for me to share the first page or so. It’s about David and Eve, who both have strict Christian parents. They’ve both done some pretty terrible things, and basically the whole thing is about whether they love each other enough to forgive what the other has done. Let me know if you like it!
I stood at the bridge. Water rushed past many metres below me, swirling over sharp black rocks. I wouldn’t feel it. Not really. I’d be knocked unconscious because of the speed of my fall. And then it would be nothingness. Sweet, sweet oblivion. Heart thumping, toes curling, breaths quickening as I told myself I was going to do it. Just one jump.
I poised myself for glorious free-fall, glorious death. But before I closed my eyes, there was a voice.
It wasn’t urgent. No desperation apparent. I opened my eyes and turned around to see a girl with long red hair and scars on her wrists to match. She was perhaps ten metres away from me, poised just as I was, ready to die.
‘Give me one good reason to,’ I said, wanting her to.
She stared right at me. It was impossible to tell what she was thinking. ‘Because it’s not as bad as you believe.’
‘No,’ I agreed. ‘It’s worse. Nobody cares about me.’
She frowned a little. ‘I care about you.’
The funny thing was that I cared about her too, if only a little bit. We’d both come here, expecting to end our lives, but instead met each other. My parents were always going on about fate and “God’s Will.” Well, I didn’t believe in any of that crap, but I believed in coincidence. Maybe this was just a really great coincidence.
‘You don’t know anything about me,’ I said. But I wanted her to.
She shrugged again. Moved a little closer to me. ‘Perhaps not. But I know enough to tell you that you’re not going to jump.’
‘Oh yeah?’ I said, frowning.
By now she was standing right next to me. I could see that she had mascara on. Why would you wear mascara when you were about to kill yourself?
‘Yeah,’ she said, and took my hand.
And together, we climbed back into the world.
Quiet footsteps, quiet heart. The girl led me by the hand until we were off Apple Bridge, until we sat down in the grass and felt its colour. She intrigued me, this girl. How could she have convinced me to walk away from that bridge? I’d planned it for weeks, months even. Researched on the internet and severed all my ties.
I hadn’t written a note. I hadn’t thought my parents deserved it.
I looked at her now, this girl. She didn’t look suicidal. She had this kind of peaceful but guarded look on her face – as though she was comfortable with herself but not others. It was cold, bits of spray reaching us from the river. She pulled her jacket down over her wrists, smiling at me as I looked at them.
‘What’s your name?’ I said.
She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. ‘Eve.’
Mum and Dad were going to kill me. ‘Eve, you saved my life.’
Her face went all crinkly, like cardboard. ‘I think it’s the other way round.’
‘I was going to jump.’
‘So was I.’
‘Why’d you tell me to stop?’ I said.
Eve plucked a strand of grass from the ground. She plucked more strands and wove them into a plaited headband, then threaded it through her hair. Red and green, like Christmas colours. It made her look even more beautiful. ‘Because you reminded me of someone,’ she said, looking at me.
And again I glimpsed that mascara on her eyes, brown eyes that smiled. They weren’t just brown, though. They were amber and chestnut and chocolate and russet and tawny. ‘Who?’
‘Isn’t it obvious?’ she whispered. ‘You remind me of me.’
‘You think…you think we have some sort of connection?’ I said, swallowing.
‘I do,’ she said. ‘David.’
I jerked back. ‘How do you know my name?’
‘You go to my school,’ she said, a trace of sarcasm in her voice. Just a thread, a strand, like that of the grass woven in her hair. It made her seem more alive, somehow. More three-dimensional. I couldn’t wait to explore what other hidden traits she had.
She got up and dusted herself off. Her grass headband shivered in the breeze and she hugged herself. ‘Bye, David. And thank you.’
‘Thank you,’ I whispered back.
‘Don’t go thinking of going back to the bridge,’ she said, walking away.
I looked back at the bridge, at the roaring water and black rocks below. The bridge could wait. Eve was far more intriguing. I wanted to explore her. Not sex or anything. I wanted to see what she had to offer the world, what people would have missed out on if she had killed herself today. I wanted to see why she mattered so much to me.
I waved goodbye, but she was already gone.