A Life's Moment - Flash Fiction
Copyright © 2015 Ben Kesp
Placing himself on the ledge overlooking the city sparkle in the summer sun, he opens the ice pop. Enveloping his lips around it, he bites. The cold orange flavour swirls in his mouth awakening his senses. The clatter of the roof top door opening takes him away from the moment. He eyes a middle aged man exiting and moving towards the edge of the building. Dressed in a navy pinstriped suit, the man is oblivious to him, focusing his attention on the ground below.
“Do you intend to jump?” he asks, taking another bite of his ice pop soaking up its flavours.
“What!?” the man jumps taken by surprise to face the unknown presence.
“Do you intend to jump?”
“What’s it to you?”
“I’m just asking.”
“What the hell are you doing up here on the roof?”
“Having an ice pop and getting some space. You wouldn’t believe who I am after meeting. To call her crazy would be mild; but she saw the light before I left.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Sorry, where are my manners? I’m Tom. As I was saying, I met this woman called Rotunda, a great big one she was. She had an ass that was like a stool when she stood up. You could sit on it!”
“What are you even doing up here?”
“I told you, having a break. Rotunda was a tough one. Traffic warden by day, and lady of the night by night, or as I like to call her, the red harlot. Life’s sordid pleasures I guess.”
“Lady of the night!?”
“I know what a lady of the night is! Christ!”
“Have you been with Rotunda?”
“What!? No! I haven’t been with any prostitute!” retorts the man as he casts his gaze around the roof and in the direction of the opposite building.
“Do you think that would be a better building to jump from?”
“Who are you? Are you crazy or something, sitting and dangling your legs over a twenty floor high building and eating a god damn ice pop?”
“It’s refreshing. Orange flavour. The simple pleasures you take for granted. Why call me crazy? I’m only sitting here. I’m not the one who wants to jump off a twenty-two floor high building to be exact.”
“Shut the fuck up! Christ! Have your ice pop and leave me alone!” the man snaps, moving to the other side of the building.
Swallowing the last of the ice pop, he savours the tangy taste slowly slipping down his throat. Casting his eyes over the haze of the city, he inhales and slowly exhales. As he moves his glance in the direction of the man, he observes him silently for some minutes standing at the roof edge staring down below. He rises to his feet and moves towards him.
“Do you know you’re the third person today that has randomly been placed in my way? First there was a social welfare worker; Beatrice was her name. She says social welfare, but I would call her more of a fraudster, stealing much needed funds for her own benefit. Then there was Rotunda.”
“You again! Will you leave me be?”
“Why? So you can end your life? You’re not going to jump Joel.”
“How do you know my name?!” he replies startled, placing his stare onto the man next to him surprised by the revelation of his name.
“I know many things about you, maybe even more than you know yourself. You have recently been diagnosed with an illness that will one day kill you, but not today.”
“Who are you?!”
“Well, normally I would call myself an angel, but today my wings have been clipped. I have been placed on earth for a day to live through the eyes of humanity. Wow, what a buzz! Tom is the name again.”
“An angel?” replies Joel half believingly.
“A lazy one too I might add, and I’m being punished for it by the almighty, all seeing,” Tom replies staring briefly upwards into the cloudless sky.
“Am I someone you’re here to help?”
“I help people, it’s what I do. But today, in this human form, I guess you are.”
“I’m but human. You don’t know what it feels like to endure what I’m going through.”
“This is the problem with being human. You don’t know how to experience life, savour its fullness, its essence; enjoy the moment. Life isn’t always about the good times; there needs to be a balance. Grief and agony are a part of this endurance. You must experience both in order to grow as an individual.”
“What if I can’t endure it?”
“You will Joel; with the power of love by the people around you. Just let them in. Looking for easy get out options will only hurt your family and you in the next life.”
Joel steps back and sits on the roof top.
“What kind of name is Tom for an angel?”
“What’s wrong with it? I don’t have one of those fancy archangel names. Besides, Tom makes me feel more ordinary.”
Sitting next to Joel, he places his eyes onto the bustling city.
“While I have some time left in this body, can you help me experience something of this life? I wish to enjoy the simplicity of an ordinary moment and experience life as you do.”
“Did you do something with the other two people you helped today?”
“Oh yes! You wouldn’t believe what I experienced with Rotunda, hence why I’m on this roof,” he chuckles. “Show me what it’s like to enjoy a life’s moment.”
He rises and departs the roof top with Joel. The shadows lengthen behind them with the setting sun to the west.
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