Becca on the Edge

Becca walked to the edge of the cliff, where the mountainous boulders had overlooked the lake for hundreds of years. They didn’t know a young woman would die here. They didn’t know she’d been pushed here—literally, pushed to the edge—her throat so wet with tears it almost felt pleasurable, almost tasteful in her mouth, the salt and the warmth creating some sense of sweetness.

She told herself to stop trembling, but she still trembled. She told herself it would stop in a few minutes, so she had to get over it. It does not matter. She thought briefly of her family. How would they react? She thought of her few friends. She knew they’d have a hard time, and maybe they’d be a little haunted by what would happen, but time would be sure to fade the shock of this act for anyone who had any connection with her. And then everyone who had ever known her would die eventually; that’s when she’d truly be finished. In the instant the last person dies. But first she would have to do it. She pulled her father’s gun out of her jacket and stared at it. It wasn’t so simple. Then she started to cry again, not because she was scared of dying, but because of how terrifying it was to think of how such things were so swift, how quick and easy it would be. There is nobody to stop me, she thought. It made her sad to think of all the people who’d felt this way too. She scrunched her face and gazed around through the clear darkened air.

Just a few weeks earlier, in the frost of late October, she and all of her college classmates—her college was a small women’s college located just down the street from the lake—had stood on this cliff and sang songs and held hands on a Sunday night. Serenading each other was part of the college’s culture: the older girls recited songs to the younger students, songs that had been written by former students in the 1930’s. When they sang together, Becca fought the enervating sense of dread that wearily crept into her mind; it felt as if they were detached from simpler times—as if now they were apart of the flimsy beginning of a new type of living, a type of living which centered on flashing screens and numbed fingertips. Perhaps that was why she’d opted to do it here on the cliff, over the lake, in the cool air of November, with the dark, the silence, her phone crushed to pieces beneath the stripped bed in her dorm room.

Now the cliff was empty; now where were they? Some poor old man would find her body, Becca knew, because she saw them take walks every morning. But tragically, people come across this kind of stuff all the time, Becca reasoned. The feelings will fade and the thoughts will fade harder. It wasn’t fair to know such things. She pulled the gun to its last place, and there was Becca, all gone.