Cliff-Side Blues

cliffside

We set the scene. It’s a clear dark night, and Mitch decides to muddy the crisp cool air with what can only be described as a damn smooth cigar.

“We’ve been here a thousand times before, Alan” he mutters to himself. “We both know nothing is going to happen”, this time a little more directly to his friend.

Alan, a struggling artist still trying to find himself. Reaching his early thirties had not been kind to him.

Alan responded in a low, somber tone. “Eventually it will. Why prolong the inevitable?”

They both stared down the cliff. It was deep enough to kill a man, but not enough that it wouldn’t hurt. The shrubbery growing along the lining of the cliff seemed to be teeming with life, a microcosm of sorts. A tiny mouse scampered by the duo and quickly made it’s way down the cliff-side, easily navigating the multitude of footholds until it disappeared from sight into a bush.

Overhead, a sliver of light shone from the crescent moon, barely enough to light the chasm. Their intended primary source of light was an old worn out lamp post, however, it seemed to lack the strength to bring light to even a tiny basement. It flickered on and off in a soothing pattern, never missing a beat.

Alan watched the lamp post flicker for a couple minutes, took a deep breath, then sat on the edge of the cliff. His mind was always thinking, but tonight, something was off. His mind wasn’t full of what he should wear tomorrow, or how he was gonna pay the month’s rent, or whether or not he should rent a movie. The unnecessary static from merely existing wasn’t present. Alan sat in silence, trying to make sense of this bizarre phenomenon while Mitch slowly approached him with careful movements to prevent any sudden noises.

Mitch places his arm around Alan and in his most genuine tone, he says, “Alan. You can’t keep doing this to yourself. You’re not okay. You need help”

Alan turns to face Mitch with a decisive look spreading across his face. “Mitch. You’re a good friend. I know that I’m not okay, but I don’t need help. I know exactly what I need”.

Mitch stares back for moment, trying to understand what his friend is saying. He looks into deep into Alan’s eyes, trying to find some hint of Alan’s plan. However, his friend’s eyes returns no truths, no new knowledge, no evidence that some sort of epiphany had been reached.

As the lamp post flickered off for the final time, Mitch asks one simple question:

“What are you going to do, Alan?”

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