A teenage girl was standing on the roof a few feet away, her head and shoulders blocking the sun, arms outstretched, eyes wide. Her pink and black shoes were already halfway over the edge and her skinny legs were trembling.
I coughed, perhaps to get her attention, pulling out a cigarette. “Going for a swim?” I asked.
“I’m going to jump,” she said. Her voice was flat, with little twitches of fear like a monitor looking for a heartbeat. She spoke very quietly, almost proud, like she was onstage. “I’m really going to jump.”
I shrugged. “Go for it.”
“You’re not going to stop me?”
“Not my job. Just don’t land on my car. It’s parked right over there.” I pointed to my crappy little Buick. She looked over, and in doing so, edged her feet back as to not fall. I took a half-step to my right, away from her.
“I’m not just looking for attention. I just want to make sure you’re not going to get all in my face about it or anything. Everyone would just try to top me.”
“Maybe they don’t want you to land on their cars either.”
“You think you’re funny, but you’re not.”
I leaned forward, elbows on the wall. I was further out than she was. “I’m just a photographer. I’m not allowed to be funny. If you’re going to jump, you should do it now, though, while the lighting is still good.” Continue reading