I hold the kneaded papers close to my chest, the soft autumn breeze caresses my hairless head and my flutters my clothes, already too large for my skinny body. I stare at the cars passing by beneath me. I look up again and admire the skyline of the city that looks at me, all lively, full of hopes and dreams, just like this one I’m living right now. I close my eyes and ignore all the noise, just focusing on the matter at hand.
“‘You ready?” The instructor asks me from behind. I just nod and take a step forward.
There is nothing hold me up, it’s all empty, a big nothing. It’s this nothingness that makes me feel, for the first time since the diagnosis, full inside. I keep diving into the void until I feel the elastic rope pulling me back. Then, and only then, I open my eyes again and see the cars up close, the drivers looking at me, puzzled by my actions, pointing at this weird fella. I open my arms and let go of the papers, my exams results and my old bucket list, my only companions through the last couple of years. Not that I’m alone in the world, is just that I think that a bucket list is a constant reminder of what’s to come and only I should carry this burden.
I yell with joy and excitement as the rope pulls me back, as if life was clinging on to me for the first time instead of the other way round. I felt wanted, loved by life as much as I used to love it. It was finally reciprocal.
The earth pulls me back and I think about my suicidal attempt when I was 14. The goth depressed kid, craving for attention. What was I thinking? Life is beautiful, stupid, crazy, surprising, funny. How could I ever think about giving it up? It’s true what they say, you know, about only valuing things when we lose them. Some little girl on the sidewalk looks up and points at me with a smile on her face. That must be how Superman feels. I smile back at her.
I got pulled up again. I remember my first yo-yo, it was a red one with lights that my father got from a gas station, it was a big deal in the 90’s, so I was in the clouds when I got to take it to school and show off my tricks. I was the king of elementary school for a couple of days.
The ups and downs finally stop and I just hang in there. Funny enough, “hang in there, buddy” was one of the things I heard the most after my diagnosis. I look at the cars, the people riding their bikes, the pedestrians too scared to cross the busy road, the shade of the trees protecting the homeless from the sun. I look at all that and I can’t help but let go a tear that runs through my forehead to my hair and finally dripping on the asphalt.
Here I am, boys, hanging in here like you told me to.