"Perfectly clear day!" Tessa said aloud as she stood on the rooftop of some random downtown building chosen to snap pictures. With hands on hips, Tessa took in the panoramic view as if trying to burn each detail in her mind. After glancing briefly at her watch, she quickly removed the equipment from her bag, adjusting the lens angling her camera to memorialize breath-taking photos that would later haunt many for years to come.
Less than an hour later, she was barefoot on the molding of the roof with arms spread out like wings, smiling at the sky. Workers who saw her jump and were later interviewed by the police would recall it happening as if in slow motion.
"She just seemed to twirl down like Mary Poppins! But without the umbrella!," One distraught older gentleman recalled, "It was like her dress was the umbrella!"
Another witness refused to be interviewed inside.
"I know it doesn't make sense, but she seemed to be flying, "the legal secretary's heels hit the side walk loudly as she paced back and forth puffing furiously on her cigarette. "Then BOOM!" The petite woman stopped abruptly; well manicured hands flew skyward for emphasis. Her blue eyes bored meaningfully into the policeman's. "Then this!" she gestured helplessly with swirling smoke toward the blood splattered pavement across the street.
Somewhere between the twelfth and eighth floors, Tessa's thoughts shifted to her family. "M-m-my s-sons!" she tried to say aloud but the sheer force of the wind stole the words and carried them away unheard.
So... She thought, noting the sidewalk hastening to meet her, it isn't true that your entire life flashes before your eyes...
The day had started off normally enough. Breakfast at seven, hurried through with the usual morning chatter at the table. They all seemed to be fine- lives planned out for the day with work or school. Tessa chimed in accordingly, but felt, as many times before, strangely disconnected and not really apart of... Really, more like a spectator.
The boys, now in high school were the first to leave and so past the age where hugs and kisses were needed to ensure a good day. Tessa shooed away their half-hearted attempts to clean up, promising to take care of things- as usual. Once Trent left for work after his customary quick peck on the lips and cheery good-bye, she was again left to endure the ever present torturous thoughts. Thoughts no one should have. Nauseating thoughts refusing to be denied any longer.
And Tessa was weary. No one seemed to notice or care that she was drowning and the things that used to help, just don't anymore. Even the varied hobbies that used to bring so much joy were irritating these days. So much so that all of her tools were violently destroyed. Everything, that is, but an expensive camera given to her as a present. Tessa's laptop snoozed on the coffee table, blinking a sleepy reminder that it was alive and waiting to be accessed. With a heavy sigh, Tessa sat down on the huge stuffed sofa, opened it, and signed on.
First, the Bucket List!" Tessa said aloud as she opened Microsoft Word. She didn't want to think about "the note" that needed to be written. She would get around to that later. She began typing:
Number one? Shower!
Tessa smiled wryly to herself. It may seem like a strange thing to put on a "Bucket List" but she always wanted to make sure she was showered and clean should she ever decide to... well, do something like this- so as not to embarrass the family when... you know, found. Next? What to wear. Tessa thought a moment. A vintage dress like the one she imagined the woman wore in the movie before she jumped off the roof. A perfect dress would be one that twirls when spinning around.
Of course Tessa had the perfect one! While perusing one of her favorite thrift shops a little while ago, she found a nineteen fifty-ish style cream colored dress with yellow flowers around the hem. Paired with cream colored pumps and a lemony clutch? Perfect last day attire! "Okay," She said out loud, "what next?"
That's when an idea struck her!
As kids, Tessa along with her cousin and partner in crime, Matt (5 & 6 yrs old, respectively), seriously considered jumping out of her third floor bedroom window together. The two were convinced that with luck, a little magic, & honest belief- they could fly! She smiled sadly to herself. Tessa never told anyone, but she often recalls that day. Strange thing is, the feeling is as fresh now as it was back then.
Crowds had begun to gather in the streets below upon seeing this strange woman in the billowy white dress standing on the ledge. The professional building across the street no longer had diligent workers because they were all clamoring for a good view from office windows with their smart phones. Tessa, however, never noticed them. She had retreated inside herself to a less painful place in time. If only the butterfly effect were real, she could simply erase herself from existence. Tessa was convinced that this was the best for all concerned.
"STOP RIGHT THERE!"
Tessa was suddenly yanked back to reality at the sound of the metal exit door bursting open. She turned slightly to her right to see a few security guards and policemen approaching cautiously.
She chuckled a little and sang softly, "Don't... Come... Any closer...!"
This seemed to confuse the group into pausing with the exception of one African-American man in a suit and tie who had continued slowly ahead of the others. He had his hands up and a very concerned look on his face.
Tessa shrugged slightly, "I'm the mom in the movie who jumped from the roof in front of her young son because I am unimportant! I am also Mal, because when I jump, I might wake up and find that my entire life was just a bad dream!"
The detective's face cycled through several expressions as he thought carefully about what to say next, "Please, Miss...?"
"Please...! Don't do this...! I'm sure that you have loved ones who truly cares what happens to you and who would be devastated if they lost you..."
Tessa simply nodded before turning to look out over the city once more, then back up into the sky. Her arms seemed to automatically spread out like a bird preparing to fly and a smile curved her lips. The detective, thinking this an opportune moment to make his move, lunged forward. At that moment Tessa yelled out, "Hey Matt! This is for us!" then lept out as far she could.
Am I flying?
There was a horrible, loud, cracking sound in Tessa's ears. Her body felt as if it had been crushed under the weight of massive boulder. She was drowning in some thick, metallic tasting liquid.
Detective Adderman found Tessa's equipment all neatly packed near the exit along with the most delicate looking cream colored shoes. Inside the daisy flowered camera bag was a piece of neatly folded white paper. It was a note to her family.
It simply read, "Now you are free! Live on!"