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Wake Up

Short Story about a young girl, a couple, death, and life.

Jesse looked out from the rooftop of a Brooklyn apartment building towards the New York City skyline; it was the highest building in Bushwick. He drank in the crisp May air like it was Vodka...burning his insides and making him warm. Staring at the Empire State Building, Jesse was overcome with the joy of the word "Skyscraper;" such a simple, overlooked word...so symbolic and yet effortless at the same time...a building which literally looks like its objective is to scrape the sky...letting God know we are here and that we are trying, with our best efforts, to touch him (or her...or it). If only he could float to the top of it from where he sat.

In his mind, thoughts ran rapid about how he wished to make things better with her...Rosie. He could see her smile, hear her laugh, almost taste her voice...sweet like pie, bitter like Cider. Things were bad with them...everyday was another argument over the most miniscule of problems...what show to watch on TV; what to eat for dinner; who uses the bathroom longer. They weren't the way they started anymore.

Leaving the roof, Jesse told himself he would surprise her when he got home to their apartment...creating a speech for himself to make on the drive from Brooklyn to Long Island and rehearsing it--outloud--despite the glances of other drivers assuming either he was nuts, or had some doltish Blue-Tooth somewhere in his ear.

He wanted those nights back where they would both lay on the bed for hours with the television in silence and content with being next to each other. He wanted to kiss her forehead and tell her she was his dream...that waking up to her warmth was always the best part of his day; that she was the reason for all the good that was in him.

On the steps to the apartment he composed himself. They had left each other that morning in anger, and Jesse wasn't exactly sure what mood she would be in. The kid was nervous...nervous like the first time they met, palms sweaty, butterflies flapping.

He opens the door...silence.

Checks the bedroom: No one
Checks the spare room: No one
Checks the kitchen: No one
Checks the balcony: No one

'She should be home by now' he thought.

Then eyes slowly case to the bathroom door--closed.
It was never closed unless occupied.

Knock
"Rosie..."
No answer
"Rosie...open the door"
Silence
Turn knob-locked.
Panic
"Rosie"
Voice rasies just a little bit
Still silence...the longest yet.
Panic
Voice inflates:
"Rosie...open the fucking door!"

He runs to go get a paper clip...it was one of those doors you can easily pick. He opens the door...

....first thing he sees is blood; blood on the sink, blood on the mirror...covering his reflection.

Next thing noticed: Rosie, lying on the tile floor, naked, empty baggies on the floor (he counted quickly 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6....6 empty heroin baggies) glance at her hand...needle. Blood running up and down her arm...6 baggies shot up at once.

Almost a whisper, "Rosie..."
Pause
"Rosie, wake up."
Pause
25 repeats of the words "wake up" follow the call to 911...she never woke up. Not even when paramedics got there...she never woke up.

At the funeral, all Jesse heard were people who never really knew her say great things about her--things he used to tell her everyday before things went bad. These people don't know her...this fucking priest doesn't know her. He let his mind wonder... her health...fuck, he thought her health was better. She quit...she told him she quit. Everybody knew she quit; they could see it in her clear eyes, in her less frequent mood swings, in her weight, her appetite, her attitude...she quit.

All he could do for the next 3 hours, while staring at her grave long after everybody else left, was ask himself "why?" Eventually...he remembered a conversation they once had after Jesse's father died:

"Jesse...are you okay?"
Pause...look at floor.
Unconvincingly: "Yeah..."
"You can't lie to me Jess...I know you aren't okay...please tell me what I can do for you."
Pause
"Nothing...what can anybody do? I'm so...tired Rosie, that's all. I'm tired of all the shit. What can you do in life when everything's always going to shit? How can you escape pain?"
Pause...no answer...there never was an answer.

It finally stumbled upon Jesse the answer to this question...when you can't take the shit anymore...when you can't take everyone you love dying anymore...when you can't take being hurt anymore...What can you do?

Sleep.

You can sleep.

Rosie went to sleep...endless, peaceful, uninterrupted sleep.

Before he left the cemetery, Jesse took out a piece of paper from the pocket-sized notebook he carried around everywhere and wrote three words down. He then placed it upon the tombstone, and slowly walked away.

An old man who stood at a nearby grave saw him perform this act and, curiosity overtaking him, the old man took a glance at the words written as he went to leave the cemetery --on paper that was so obviously blotched with tears:

"Please wake up"

The old man, who didn't even know Jesse, felt a lone tear fall down his cheek, and he knew what was meant.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

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