J is for Jump

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Meghar is a tower like none other. Situated in the heart of Goregaon, it is the tallest building on the eastern belt of Mumbai city. The road leading to the building inclines upward to a level of four floors. Thereafter, a private spiral road winds concentrically upward to a platform set 8-floor levels high. It is on this elevated plateau that the majestic Meghar visually originates, with a 3-floor level parking, a large lobby comprising of a 2-floor garden level, a mezzanine-cum-service level and a steep vertical of 25 floors stacked in that order. Because of legal wrangle, Meghar is just an unfinished concrete skeleton. In a region generally populated with 6-floor structures at base level, Meghar shoots out like a finger to the sky.

One afternoon, Jerson stood at the base of Meghar and looked up. From his perspective, he felt awed to see the penthouse sway in the clouds. He wondered of the view from the top. That night he would take a chance and find out.

No one had an inkling of what Jerson wanted to do. Being depressed for sometime, Jerson now decided that Meghar would be his release. He had evaluated other forms of suicide and found this to be an irreversible option beyond compare. Rolling off the terrace of Meghar would guarantee certain death, scattered in many pieces.

That night, Jerson sneaked past the underpaid security guard. It took him a fair amount of time and effort to climb to the top in near-total darkness, but Jerson was resolute. When he finally stepped on the terrace, he swayed a bit - the pain in his legs was killing him, and the force of the howling wind enveloped and nudged him from all sides. Jerson pulled out a quart of vodka and downed it in three long shearing gulps. He was sure that within ten minutes, the booze would climb to his brain and dissolve any residual resistance he may acquire from looking over the edge. As the alcohol raced through his nerves, his emotions began flooding out. Jerson squat on the floor in a bid to control the shakes and began to weep. A few seconds later, he heard a voice. “Jerson, buddy, is that you?” Jerson froze and looked up. A short distance from him was a young, smiling boy, not much younger than him, clothed in a T-shirt and jeans, on the ledge, with his legs dangling over. Why dont you come over and sit beside me?, the boy beckoned. The view is worth dying for”. Four minutes elapsed and Jerson had already begun to feel seriously lightheaded. He staggered to the ledge and struggled over the wall. He laboured to maintain equilibrium, as the wind, the booze and the tendency of his body to tilt forward as he looked down was a cause for worry. My name is Jack, the boy said, Thought we could do the jump together, if you are up to it”. Jack continued talking, but Jerson never heard a word, and he didn’t care. Jerson reached over and engaged the other boy’s wrist, and very slowly they both rolled over into the black void below. For a brief silent second they floated, and then they began to fall at great speed, Jack first.

Falling to one’s death is an indescribable experience The body encounters a massive wind assault; adrenaline explodes internally; hair and skin bristle; eyes and neck bulge with pressure; limbs lock rigid, as muscles and tendons cry from strain; blind terror blocks all rational thought; floors whiz past, as the ground rushes to greet you at several hundred miles per hour.

“Jerson, why are your doing this?”, he thought he heard someone whisper. In the seconds that he was free-falling, his entire life flashed through his minds eye. He wished he hadnt jumped, but it was too late. As he neared the ground, time slowed to a crawl. Since Jack was falling faster than him, Jerson saw his partner’s body crumple on impact. Blood, brain tissue and body porridge instantly spattered the surrounding walls fifteen feet high and began to trickle down. Jack was now disintegrated bone, tattered skin and maroon rivulets forking in all directions. “Oh God, what have I done”, Jerson thought, just before his body rammed into the tarmac alongside Jack’s.

Morning came, and the sunlight pulled open Jersons eye. Jerson found himself on the terrace of Meghar. By now, the booze and its effects had leaked away. Jerson peeked over the terrace edge and gasped. Passing trucks were smaller than his fingernails. He felt giddy and terrified from looking over the edge in radiant light. Panic whacked his disoriented mind as he remembered Jack. What had really happened the previous night? He couldn’t remember. Did only Jack jump? He saw the empty booze bottle in the corner and realized that the police would come soon and implicate him. Any cop, despite professed innocence, would infer that the boys fought after a bout of drinking, while camping on the terrace and Jerson pushed Jack over the edge. Jerson ran down 25 stories as fast as his legs could carry him. He climbed over wire fences and sprinted through overgrown shrubs, to reach seemingly unseen to the main road. His skin goose bumped and his heart threatened to jump out from his chest.

Jerson made his way to a nearby chapel, apparently dim and deserted at that early hour, and sobbed his eyes out in the calming presence of his Creator. He sat there for a long time, alone, silently reflecting on his life, his family, and all that mattered. “Why God, are you letting me hurt so bad?”, he whispered, his head bent low. And God replied in Jerson’s thoughts, “I hurt more than you, son. Just look up at me”. Jerson lifted his eyes to the alter to see the giant wall-mounted crucifix suddenly ablaze in golden sunlight. He swung back as he heard someone exiting the church behind him. Jerson couldnt see clearly as the sunlight caught his eye from the opened chapel doors, but when the silhouette eclipsed the light, Jerson thought he recognized the T-shirt and torn jeans. Jerson never tried to find out who Jack was; maybe it was a manifestation of his depressed self, or a ghost, or a booze-induced hallucination, or an angel. Jack had died like the depression in his mind the moment he gazed at the crucifix. Jerson could now look forward to a new beginning. Everyone is, however, not as fortunate when they try to jump off the terrace of Meghar to return God’s gift of life.


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23 comments

Jeevan Ver..

04 Feb 2014
.., wrote:
Shawn, great story. Somehwere it touched a chord. I loved it.Cheers...Jeevan

Abhishek D..

04 Feb 2014
.., wrote:
Shawn, the story is engaging in the beginning because the reader wants to know what happened to Jerson. The did-he-didn't-he curiosity stirs up nicely. But later it diverts into a self-pity kind of a narrative and doesn't quite recover. I guess you were probably trying to write a dramatic event that changed Jerson's mind off suicide at the last minute. But I didn't find this to be quite so. The writing style is good and descriptive. Whats refreshing is that it isn't acutely descriptive, and is JUST RIGHT.

shawn..

04 Feb 2014
.., wrote:
Hi Abhishek Thank you for your feedback. I intentionally didnt write a dramatic ending because it would have been predictable; most writers would and most readers would expect that. Besides, all conversions from a suicidal mental state do not happen dramatically, as confirmed by an actual case (totally unrelated to this story). Sometimes, God heals you in a calm way, and pain can go away by a change of perspective and a dash of blessing, are thoughts I wrote the story with. Rgds Shawn

harshd..

04 Feb 2014
.., wrote:
Good work on the story!

prakash..

04 Feb 2014
.., wrote:
Nice one buddy keep on.. Prakash

bharti..

04 Feb 2014
.., wrote:
Dear Shawn, Long back, well almost 6-7 years back, I insisted that you seriously consider publishing your short stories. Having the privilege of reading a few, rather quite a few of your stories, I knew these stories need to reach the readers who are starved for such good and simple yet engaging short stories which touch their convoluted daily lives. I liked the plot and message that this story conveys and your story telling is amazing as always. Thanks a lot for listening to my advice and hope to get to read a lot of your stories. Keep up the good work. Do keep sending me the links of your further posts. GOD BLESS YOU!

alok..

04 Feb 2014
.., wrote:
No advices on concrete solution to Jerson to overcome depression ! Probably Jack has to be there for his help time and again ! Problem Remains . . . Mightyness of God yes acclaimed accepted and understood also that jack would help if jerson helps himself yet jack has to take an avataar to help jerson in any case ! Child is not born with languages known . . . Child has to be taught what language to speak,hear and write !

niceandnew..

04 Feb 2014
.., wrote:
Shawn, I love how you've 'described' falling to one's death. Lovely!

marriage f..

04 Feb 2014
.., wrote:
Oh my gosh. I really really really love this story. Hope there are others to follow :)

ashlesha..

04 Feb 2014
.., wrote:
Hi Shawn, Very nicely written a lovely take home.... When death comes we run for life........ Life comes only once live it! Regards, Ashlesha

chery..

04 Feb 2014
.., wrote:
Wow u actually wrote dat. I just read it. It began interesting den I got a little bored n scrolled dwn wanting 2 c d end, bt again went up. N started reading d end was cool. Nothing predictable lk r hindi pictures. Good u should tk up writting as a second profession. U can mk sm quick bucks ;-). Good job

zafarm..

04 Feb 2014
.., wrote:
Hi Shawn, where r u now a day; please send me your e-mail id and phone number. will contact you. Cheers Mohammed Zafar

Richard Fe..

04 Feb 2014
.., wrote:
Loved the falling scene. Vivid, I tell you. I found the god thing cheesy, too Chicken Soup for the Soul for me. Nevertheless, thumbs up for the most part and a thumbs down for the ending.

maria..

04 Feb 2014
.., wrote:
Shawn, great story, very engrossing. I did not realise, I was holding my breath until the ending which was a relief. You always were a good story writer. Keep it up, great work!

shawn..

04 Feb 2014
.., wrote:
Thanks Richard, Jeevan, for your comments. I will re-think on the ending. Rgds Shawn

maria..

04 Feb 2014
.., wrote:
Hey Shawn, I read your story and found it very imaginative and engrossing. You always were a good story tell. Keep in up. I will look forward to more stories from you. Love, J

Rohit Das..

04 Feb 2014
.., wrote:
Shawn, it is a good story. However, Jerson's reaction on seeing Jack at the top of Meghar is somewhat not-so-believable for me. Otherwise, the flow and the message of the story is nice. Regards Rohit

Rohit Das..

04 Feb 2014
.., wrote:
I would also recommend choosing a different name for the story.

shawn..

04 Feb 2014
.., wrote:
Thanks for your comments, Rohit

niceandnew..

04 Feb 2014
.., wrote:
Umm, I had left a comment on this story; can't find it here anymore. Anyone know what happened?

shawn..

04 Feb 2014
.., wrote:
Hey everyone who commented above, Because of a glitch, I got to see a lot of your comments only today, and Im happy that some of you liked the story and it was worth your while. I do hope you find the rest of my posted stuff equally engaging and thrilling. Do check out my new post: A secret named Lisa. Cheers Shawn

Aditi Chin..

04 Feb 2014
.., wrote:
I liked it. Great use of language. I would have preferred Jack to remain an alcohol induced hallucination though.

Pali Tripa..

04 Feb 2014
.., wrote:
i like the story. beginning, middle and end.

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