”Are you going to kill yourself?” Maven asked as he walked over to the railing of the bridge. He looked up to see none other than Francis standing on the railing, his arms wrapped tightly around the lamppost as the wind continued to dare him to jump, threatening to do it for him if Francis didn’t have the will to.
”Yes, and I’m going to do it right this time.”
”You’ve done this before?”
”Not this,” he confessed, motioning to the water below him. “But yeah.”
”You’re really not good at this.”
”Neither are you clearly.”
Francis looked away from Maven and at the bright moon before down at the dark water below him. At least he thought he was looking at the water, he couldn’t even see it. The pit below him seemed to just go forever into darkness.
Was that in the afterlife? He hoped not. He was told there was Heaven and no one could hurt you there.
”I don’t want to go to hell,” he cried, he wanted to use one of his hands to rub his eyes before he cried but he feared letting go would cause him to plummet.
”Why do you say that?”
”If you kill yourself you go to hell.”
”Well that is an archaic way to look at this.”
”You’re supposed to tell me I’m going to go to Heaven.”
”I don’t want to lie to you.”
There was a long silence between the two of them. Cars passed by them but no one cared to give them a second glance. The silence went on for what seemed like hours even though both of them knew it only had been a couple minutes (at least they assumed that) but Maven didn’t dare to look at his watch to see the time.
”How did you know I would be here?”
”I know people and they told me.”
”I’m surprised they didn’t want to kidnap me and hold me ransom to get to you. Maven the people you surround yourself with are fucked up. I'm tired of being the pawn because you and your father can't keep his business clean. I'm surprise they have come to push me off yet."
”Why would they? You are doing it for them.”
”I am not.”
”You are.” There was another silence between them and then Maven looked up at his friend. “Is this why you are doing this? Because of me?”
”No,” Francis croaked out as he leaned his head against the lamp post. “Maybe…I...I don’t know why.”
”Why don’t you come down and we can talk about this,” Maven finally said, holding his hand out as the wind continued to gust.
”I’m scared,” Francis whispered, his words barely audible and Maven had to guess at that he was saying.
”Just slide down gently and sit.”
Francis did just that, slowly sliding down with his arms still wrapped tightly around the post until he was now sitting on the railing, his feet still dangling above the water. Maven reached out to touch Francis to help him get on the safe side of the ledge but the man shook his head.
”Please don’t touch me.”
Maven nodded, knowing that if he rushed he could trigger something. The young man leaned on the railing and looked at his friend. “I’m sorry.”
”It’s not your fault.”
”I never thought about how much it affected you.”
”It’s...it’s not just that. Richard and Silvestre have been fighting a lot too. I can't help but think it is because of me. Silvestre never wanted Richard to adopt me to begin with and with me and work it's a lot for the two of them.”
”They always fight.”
"It's usually about me."
”It’s not trust me. Silvestre is just a cry baby and Richard is French.”
”But I’m French too.”
”Yeah but you’re a tolerable French,” Maven confessed, causing Francis to laugh slightly. “Life hasn’t dealt you the best cards but you’ve done well with the cards you were given.”
Francis nodded his head, looking back down at the water.
”I don’t think you want to kill yourself.”
”You would have done it by now if you wanted to. I’ve been here with you for,” he looked at his watch. “Three hours. No one who is certain about it would stand there for three plus hours.”
”You don’t know what is going through my head.”
”All twenty nine people who jumped off the San Francisco bridge and lived to talk about it say they regretted it the second they stepped off.”
”That’s very arrogant to say.”
”I feel like you are trying to help but you are being really mean right now.”
Maven moved closer to his friend, leaning his head on Francis’ shoulder. “I don’t want your last thought to be your regretting something. I know you live with a lot of regret and I don’t want that to be your last thought.”
”It took me wanting to kill myself for you to show some emotions.”
”Don’t make this a recurring event.”
”Promise me,” Maven said, taking his head away from Francis’ shoulder to look at him better. “I don’t want to be with anyone but you. You are my best friend.”
”Who else would be your damsel in distress if I wasn't around?"
”Most certainly not Quyen, he’s a pain in my ass. I would pay them to keep him," he said rolling his eye at the thought of their mutual friend.
Francis let out a small laugh before looking back down at the water. There was another silence between them as Maven watched his friend think for a moment. “Can you help me down?”
Maven nodded and wrapped his arms around Francis’ torso, pulling him off of the railing and onto the sidewalk.
The two stood like that for a while before, in silence, walking along the sidewalk and back to land.
The sun started to rise as they made their way through the city street on their way back to campus, stopping first to share a plate of pancakes, both of them satisfied with the way the night ended.
They never spoke again about that night. Both of them had the heavy feeling it would happen again but knew the morning would continue the end the way this one did.
They had to end like this.
- - ┈┈∘┈˃̶༒˂̶┈∘┈┈ - -
This a story written based on the characters by Mai Pho and Emma Woodhead.