I was walking downtown this afternoon to get some coffee, but instead I got a guy on a parking garage. Everyone stopped to gawk and wait. I leaned against a brick wall of a salon as two blonds burst out wrapped in those full-length plastic bibs, their hair gooped with bleach. Staring up, they texted blindly beneath the plastic, swishing frantically. The motion was impressive but almost pornographic.
Up on the lip of the sad, flint-colored parking garage, he slumped and rose in his blue jeans. He posed in exhausted, weight of the world hunches. Above him it was cloudless, and the sun beat the sweat out of everyone. He wiped his bald forehead with his shirtsleeve and yelled into his cell. I thought of how much cell phones have changed the suicide biz but felt guilty about it as he leaned to peer down at a line of cars.
The girls began debating if the parking garage was high enough for the full effect. Six stories didn’t seem impressive to them. They recommended taller buildings a few blocks over. I rolled up my sleeves and the soon-to-be blonds assumed I was a reporter.
They expected me to have the scoop. Even expected me to know if six stories would do the trick. I told them yes, but the thick awning made things tricky.
It was on the local news tonight. They showed him pacing, us blocking the sun with our hands, everyone just waiting. If the T.V. had been on mute, it could have looked serene, like we were gripped, watching something terrifying and ceremonious: a tightrope walker or building climber. Our hopes in action above us. The suspended gasp of trapeze as he paced. They used the word surrender. Cut to him being led through a cargo door, hands cuffed behind his back.