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On The Edge (2021)

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

I’m sitting on the edge of the top of the world. My feet sway back and forth above details too small to even describe. Central Park looks almost small from up here. The Empire State Building stands strong under my feet and yet I fear it may sway from the slightest pressure. I lean my head back and take a deep breath. The silence is peaceful, calming. Then in the back of my mind, I hear one word “jump”.

I don’t want to. They say it’s my time and yet everything in my body fights against what I must do. I asked the officials to give me a moment to myself before I do what must be done. I quietly begin to sing to myself, “Happy birthday to you, you know what to do. Happy birthday dear young one, your time’s almost through.” The melody of a once cheerful song echoed in my mind, its words now turned dark.

People don’t sing this song normally, the regular happy birthday song is still used, but on your 30th birthday, if you haven’t done something useful with your life, they ask that you remove yourself and make room for newer minds. Then, and only then, have I heard that version of the song is sung. Again I hear the word in the background of my thoughts, “jump”. I want to turn it off, the chip in my neck lets them know when I have jumped and until then, releases reminders. I don’t want to go, I could have made something of myself. I could have- I would have-.

It’s too late. The chip speaks again louder this time. I bring myself to my feet, knees shaking. The fiery sun seems to scorch my skin and yet my dizziness is not from the heat. I take a step towards the ledge they have designated as the last place I shall stand. I take a steadying breath and let my mind go silent. A single tear falls down my cheek and I take a step forward.

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