I didn't enjoy the silence. It was awkward and I didn't want to feel awkward in my last moments. Luckily, he decided to start speaking.
"I suppose it has something to do with the economy..." he said eventually.
"Hmm?" I replied breaking away from my thousand yard stare. "What makes you say that?"
"Well, if our lives were better, perhaps we wouldn't be doing this," he suggested.
It was curt and I could understand his trepidation. Still, he had it wrong.
"I think you can put that theory to rest."
"Well, I believe it is human nature." I told him was we began our ascent towards the top of the building. "To blame everything around you when you face obstacles. No matter how good ones life is one will blame it all, the color of your shoes, the weather that day or even how good you have it."
"These are some pretty serious obstacles in our way!" he laughed.
The stairs were crooked concrete, probably a last minute job, but they were large enough to keep us from falling off. We chose our steps carefully and continued the climb up. I chose this building specifically. It was empty, long since abandoned and to be demolished in a few months. I wanted to leave a message behind, but I didn't want to cause such destruction it would hurt others. That was not what I was about. I breathed a deep sigh. I couldn't think about it too much or I would start having confidence problems. Too many years of therapy went into making sure I had enough.
"Yeah, there are always obstacles. Always challenges," I replied. "But look at what we're doing. Do you think there are many people who could make it this far? I think there are very few that would take this next step."
He didn't answer. We just continued the climb until we reached the forty-second floor.
"Are you trying to talk me out of this?" He asked.
"No," I lied. I was trivializing what I was doing on purpose, it was the best I could do right now. He was beyond my reach, slipping away the moment he saw the building. "Then if you don't believe we are here for that reason, then why are you here?"
"Because I want to do this," he murmured.
We reached the roof. The cold night air filled our lungs, chilling us to the bone, but waking us up. We were dead center, above it all. A sparkling city that hummed with life from the cars to the people that occupied the streets and buildings. Watching them move around was like watching ants scavenge around for a bread crumb. It was saddening to me, but I believe I was not quite as saddening as it was to him.
"There are happy people down there and there are sad people," I continued. "Of the happy people some are in luxury cars, some are in the alleys sleeping, some are on the pavement begging with no shame. Same could be of the sad ones."
"They must be delusional if they are happy begging for their next meal," he muttered.
I chuckled. It was naive of him to say, but still amusing. Maybe I just saw things too differently to him, but I knew there was a mistake in that statement. My chuckled faded into a small smile and placed my hand on his shoulder.
"Some are. However, we are delusional to think happiness is a luxury car and a guaranteed meal. Everything has their own goals and own ideas of happiness," I droned. "It's like pizza toppings. Some want anchovies, some want meat, some don't want any toppings."
"To each their own?"
"And is this what you want? I mean..."
"Yes. Is it what you want?"
He fell silent again, his lips tight with frustration. He was hoping I wouldn't ask him that after all I said, but I had to. I didn't want him to suffer on my behalf. Eventually he looked down and shook his head sadly.
"No, I don't want to do this," he replied in a whisper.
I placed my other hand on his shoulder and kissed his forehead. I've been waiting for him to say it. I hate it when people hold such emotions back. After all, this was something I wasn't about to force on someone and at least he knows it.
"Then you better get going," I told him smiling. I was happy he made a decision concrete enough to tell me. I could see doubt circle his mind ever since we walked into the abandoned building. "Just wave to me when you reach that street sign down there."
He nodded, but he definitely was not happy.
"I guess..." he began, but I couldn't hear him anymore. I don't think I could take it emotionally.
"No more talking," I interrupted. "Get going."
He didn't hesitate, he just left. I continued my observation and after a few minutes my eyes drifted to the street sign out of the blast radius. He was standing there and waving slowly. I took a deep breath and lifted the trigger button. With a flick of my thumb the trigger locked into place and the noise and fire surrounded me.
The building crumbled into nothing. Everyone watched, screams were heard, but eventually they fell silent realizing that the building wasn't going to fall anywhere. It crumbled in place in fire and flame. The noise shook the city and panic spread like wildfire.
One side of the building remained with a symbol burning against the wall. It was the sign of peace, a circle divided into unequal fours. I couldn't decide whether the destruction reinforced or diluted this message. It didn't matter. I just focused on her silhouette as it vanished from existence, taking her body and mind with it. Her spirit remains, now in the hearts of the people who saw her message.
She found her happiness and it was something she could only hold onto for a second. If I could ask her she would tell me it was worth it for that one second. That thought eased the pain and turned my back to the building. It was time for me to seek my own happiness.
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