This story originally appeared on my Wattpad about a year ago. I updated and edited it, added beautiful photos and brought it here to share it with all of you. Have fun reading my first piece of fiction on this blog 🙂
“Do not move any closer, Holden!” the girl cried.
The girl was sitting dangerously close to the edge of the roof. Her feet dangled over the edge, her sneakers hovering thirty floors above the cold and hard tar ground below. All she had to do was make the slightest move forward and she would be free—from this world which held so much beauty and sadness at the same time. She had wanted to be free for the longest time she had ever known. It was what she thought about all the time when she was not thinking about Holden.
Could she do it? Could she pluck up the courage to just leave this tattered world with all its monsters and nightmares?
“Alright. Just do not do anything stupid alright? I’m here for you and we can get through whatever problems you have been hiding from me,” the boy said.
He paused for a while before continuing. “I love you, you know that right?” the boy said. He knew that if he went any closer or tried to reach for her, that it would be the last time he saw her.
He once asked her, “A penny for your thoughts?”
But she did not answer him. She never did when he asked her questions about herself. Sometimes though, if she was in a more pleasant mood, she would give him teasing answers.
“What’s your favourite colour?” Holden had once asked her.
“Purple. Red, yellow, orange, green, blue, white, black, indigo,” she had answered with a small grin on her face.
She just sat there, pouring over her thoughts as she looked out over the amazing view in front of her —the marvelous view which stretched so far you could see where the land met the sea, buildings and skyscrapers which tried to outmatch each other as they competed to touch the sky, and people that looked like ants beneath her feet.
He stared at something more beautiful than the view, her. He thought of their friendship, how they had met 11 months ago on this verrooftopop.
One day when he went up to the roof just wanting some air and peace from all the commotions of school life, he found her—the girl with eyes as blue as the ocean and blonde hair as bright as the sun. He was immediately attracted to her and felt this need to constantly be around her.
It was not a bed of roses though. She was cold, and did not like making friends. It was not something she did well. She had kept everyone at arm’s length from day one and most of them just stopped trying or got too tired to.
But, Holden was different. He kept coming up to the roof during lunch breaks just to be with her even though she did not speak a single word to him.
“What is wrong with him? Doesn’t he know how to give up?” she had thought to herself.
She was comfortable being alone most of the time but this boy made her feel differently. Aside from being the cutest boy she had ever met, it seemed to her that he would not take “no” for an answer. After two weeks, she slowly started opening herself up to him and they soon became friends, the girl with the ocean blue eyes and the boy with the grey eyes and lopsided grin.
She continues to stare ahead. She thinks of Holden.
Rein ne dure eternellement, French for “nothing lasts forever”.
Could this special friendship of hers with Holden last forever? Were the good times she had with him enough to paint over the canvas of sadness, dread and dejection which was her life?
She no longer knew what sadness or happiness was. Maybe it was because she had been sad her whole life. Or maybe being “sad” was just tears and dejection and maybe being “happy” was just when you smiled and laughed. But lately, none of these had been real but merely faked. So, what was either?
“Holden, you have always asked me what I’m busy thinking about when I’m staring at things, have you not?
“Yes, I have. And I still would like to know the answer,” he answered cautiously.
“Well, here’s your answer,” she said.
“I think of my family. I think of my mother who tires herself out daily to feed us and to keep a roof over our heads. I think of how she’s always busy doing something, anything as long as she does not have time to stop and rest, to think about the mess which is our lives.
I think of my alcoholic father who drinks and drinks like he’s the thirstiest man alive, while ironically our savings run dry. I think of my little brother who comes home from school with fresh bruises he tries but fails to hide. I think of how my father abuses the both of us when he’s drunk too much. I think of my mother who tries but fails to stop him every time.
I think of the next bill that has to be paid and the next tenant that will come knocking on the door. I think about the next big fight that will ruin our family again.
I think of the world—how it continues moving with or without our say. I think about how insignificant I am. I think about how it would feel like to not feel at all.
I wonder what would happen if I existed no more. I wonder about who would miss me. I wonder about the things they’ll say at my funeral, if I have one.
I think about what it would be like to be dead,” she finished as tears streamed down her eyes like waterfalls.
She had thought of letting go just then. She was free—a weight she had been carrying around her entire life was lifted off her back as she shared her story with Holden. She was ready to just push off with the palms of her hands and she would be on her way, on a journey to a better place.
That was when she felt his arms around her waists holding on to her tightly as he pulled her towards him. He brought her away from the edge of the roof and she let him. She crumpled into his arms—feeling the familiar touch of his skin against hers—and she cried her heart out, her emotions finally running free. He just sat there silently, empathizing, and never once letting her go.
“Some things last forever, Autumn,” he whispered into her ear once she had finished crying.
And just for that moment, they forgot who they were. They just were.
For once, Autumn, the girl with the ocean blue eyes was free from drowning in her emotions. She was truly and genuinely “okay”.
And sometimes “okay” is enough.
A short story by Ngim Da Ruey. Inspired by the story “Rooftop Loving” by annihilation_ on Wattpad.