Vertical Drop< 222 ft.
The sprawling city shifted under my feet, jolting me out of my half-trance. I scoffed at the ambulance just beyond the edges of my dangling toes, slightly annoyed by the interruption but grateful for the escape from my mind palace. I had wandered too far again, lost in what had been, what could be and what is. I had built a house of glass with these three walls. As the sunset each day, I walked up the stairs onto my roof and allowed myself to slip into the glass house. For the next few hours, I would play my favourite sport of taking a sledgehammer to these walls.
Build, break, rebuild, break, cry, rebuild…
break, cry, break, break, break…
break, scream, claw, fight, rebuild, break break break break break break…
The sharp wailing of the siren had now crawled its way into the back of my skull. It slowly dulled like the ambient oscillations of rotor wash to a helicopter pilot, washing the texture of tone in and out of my mind with every flip of the pitch.
Tonight, my routine was disrupted by some poor fucker who probably bit the dust. I relit the cancer stick lodged between my fingers, accidentally burning my thumb with the lighter. Who cares, came a voice from the glass house. The world’s ending anyway. I looked down onto the street, only for the asphalt abyss to stare back at me. I cared about burning myself on the finger. I cared about the fall. I just didn’t care about dying.
Amusement Park, Bangladesh
Vertical Drop< 150 ft.
My nerves rolled up in a ball by the time the roller coaster was at the top of the tracks. The rails creaked under the weight of the cart. With every groan, I felt myself give in to the idea that this might be “it.” My dad reassured me that the ride was completely safe. I had convinced myself of that as well. But I wasn’t exactly feeling safe as I wiped my tears on the sleeve of my oversized Winnie hoodie. My cynicism would be justified years later when the park got shut down for its lack of safety measures. I looked down onto the pier at the ant-like humans looking up at us. Amused, safe on the ground. The cart came to a halt at the top. Time stopped flowing.
Vertical Drop- ??
“You ever see that show where the CIA guy pretends to be a piping engineer and then has to sit through a technical interview?” I asked, grinning off to the side of the road.
The trees moved side to side as we passed by, waving hello, or goodbye. Maybe both?
“Yes, but would you shut up if I said no?” Matt groaned.
“Nah, but anyways, so this guy, right? ? He goes to his interview and obviously he doesn’t know anything about the piping industry, he’s just regurgitating information he read in his file. But he’s trying to go to Iran…”
“Why?” Matt asked. His eyes squinted to see past the drizzle that formed into a sheet on his windshield.
“To do CIA shit,” I dismissed with arms in the air. “So he goes to this piping industry thing and completely steamrolls himself because they’re asking him questions on the fly. But the people hiring him don’t even care about that. They’re angrier about the fact that he’s what? 10 mins late and a weird dude, unlike the other dude who came early who they were going to hire.”
“And he feels like garbage because of everything that he’s worked on to prepare himself for this, and they didn’t even care that he failed the technical part of the interview. It didn’t even matter, they just wanted him to fit into this box of what appears to be good, not everything that he could do that would be good. Not that he prepared for that anyway, but still,” I stared out again.
“So he didn’t go to Iran to do CIA shit?” he grumbled.
“Oh, he did,” I chuckled.
“How?” Matt asked.
“He pushed the guy they hired in front of a bus.” I laughed.
“This is why I don’t bring you along on road trips,” Matt yelled with his fists comically swinging through the air.
“Hey, I finally have my life together. Give me a break.”
I’m not sure if this is when it happened. It would be pretty damn ironic if it was so. Maybe it happened the very next second, maybe it happened hours later. I didn’t even see what made Matt swerve across the road like that into the ditch. Didn’t see the windshield shatter, or feel my foot buckle from the impact.
I did see the red and blue glow through my cracked glasses, rain and dirt smudged across the lens. I feel like I was in my glass house again. I felt the walls close in just a little more.
Vertical Drop< 252 ft.
I was on so much oxy that my friends joked I could be shot and still not feel a thing. But tolerance for benzos builds a lot faster than your ability to cope with the death of a friend and the omnipresent pain radiating from your ankle.
It was simple in my head. I felt pain, my doctor filled a prescription and on my way I went, popping pills like tic-tacs. Thousands of miles away from any parental supervision, my newly-adult mind exploded with possibilities that I was too high to realize.
Instead, it made me forget. It made me forget my failed career as a varsity athlete and my falling grades, the slow drain on my bank account, and the fact that there was an impermeable fog between me and my friends and family. It made me forget that I was scared.
I looked back at the red “Emergency Exit” that I had used to come up the fire escape. The sign scurried in the breeze, the white-on-red letters dancing, mocking, taunting.
Mount St. Louis, Coldwater, Canada
Vertical Drop- 550 ft.
SAMIUL SAMIN is a fourth-year Professional Writing program student who works as a journalist and sacrifices his social life to music composition. In between doomscrolling on Twitter, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, snowboarding, and catching up on his reading list, Samiul cherishes the avant-garde in both music and writing.
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