Saturday, July 30, 2011
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Adventures: Life, Cameras, Friendships!! <3
The South African Student life: What better way is there to find your footing in the world…? No no, that was rhetorical, I’ve said it all. No need to contest it.
The past 3 years have been the most amazing learning and loving experience I have ever had. I left high school for the fun and unpredictable adventure that is the college lifestyle. Not only that, I jumped head-first into the craziest mixing pot of young, talented, eccentric journalist types SA has to offer. It’s in their fashion senses, their choice in music, the shows they watch – or hate to admit to watching. They are the Varsity College class of 2009/’10/’11 (what, sometimes it takes some of us a little longer) Diploma in Journalism students. Otherwise known as “DJ2.2” by friends and fellow students on campus, these guys are the reason I wanted to be at college every day; or at least most days haha.
The lessons learned in discovering about the world and its basic interactions through differences in culture fused with an optimistic hope for the future – that is what defines this phase in my life. There was much looking back at the histories of our country and the histories that had formed us – forged our experiences and our personal biases, there was also exploration of good music, loud fashion and insane laughter. Did I mention the obsession with photography and creating still moments that can last forever? No, well then throw that in there.
Apartheid Museum Visit, November 2010.
When you see a small group of people every day for just about 3 years, you tend to get a little attached – especially if by some miracle they all seem to “gel” pretty well with each other, for such different personalities. Meet Cameron, Thandi, Roxanne, Thuli, Amanda, Mick, Schalk, Christo, Sne, Jo, Tshepo, Thomas and of course me, Aurora. And f you didn’t make the list, ain’t nothing personal yo, just remembering the stand out moments on this one. What is to follow is an onslaught of nostalgic overindulgence in the form of a photojournalistic blog entry.
Primedia 702 Talk Radio Internship, September 2010
This trip into the world of the radio broadcasting industry in SA was every bit as exciting as I had expected it would be – and a few other overwhelming emotions that added a certain measure of growth and maturity to the journey. I was walking into my first newsroom environment and I loved every moment of it. To work with and learn from the likes of 702 reporters J.P Duplesis and Steven Groetes, as well as the multi award winning sports journalist ‘Lelo Mza’ was certainly a string of moments to worth remembering. And with the loudest, craziest Zulu friend I have ever had by my side – it does not get any better.
Me and Sne at the News Café outside the Primedia studios, Sandton.
My love for radio news and entertainment has been strengthened and solidified. Watch this space! ;)
But that is just one of the big moments that shaped my current state of being as a student, a writer and essentially a journalist – gatekeeper, analyst, and activist. The people I have met on this journey have very much been the defining factor in how I live and saw and experienced every day. From the philosophically funny lectures prepared by the most passionate teacher alive, Peter Bayer to the most frustrating, boredom filled theory lessons in our Communication Science classes, there was never a dull moment when these guys were around. The adventures were endless and the conversations were at all times spontaneous both in timing and on topics.
“Life is a rollercoaster – just gotta ride it!”
Cameron St. Claire Lang – my best friend over the past 2+ years. Nuff said! J
The new school of Bohemians is here: Truth. Beauty. Freedom. Love.
Schalk Myburg: Fashion Journalist extraordinaire. Always Fierce ;) love him!
Cocktails in a secluded posh little café in Sandton…do you feel it starting…? “La Dolce Vita”
On the day I took this photograph of Schalk, we (me, him and Sne) had travelled from Pretoria to Randburg to accompany him to a Top Billing nationwide audition. When the most loved magazine television show in SA come calling, all aspiring broadcast media personalities must come out to play.
Didn’t think I would forget it, did you?
World Cup Fever South Africa 2010!!!
Opening match at Hatfield Square, Pretoria’s student central.
Going to watch a SA match at one of the nearby official Fan Parks with Sne, my high school best friend ‘Moose’ and his lil sister MG
June / July of the year 2010 was the craziest show of just how enthusiastic, hyper and fun-loving the South African people are. If the national upset that took over SA the day we received feedback that we had not won the bid for the 2006 Soccer World Cup was not proof enough of just how badly we wanted it, then the world surely saw its full force in the passionate delivery of arguably one of the best hosting events in World Cup Soccer history. 2010 the world saw what we can do and rediscovered the diversely coloured rainbow that has earned this country its beloved nickname.
Thandi * Appletree Buttons* (centre)
Our very own small-town nomad…nicknamed Buttons for her use of the clothing item in every fashion savvy way she could think of over the past 2+ years.
Gotta love uniqueness and creativity – this girl is all that and more all crammed into the friendliest, bubbliest personality with the craziest knack for bad luck ‘all-in-one’ package.
Gonna miss the deep, twisted late night conversations about life’s funny little tricks and wonders that came with your short nomadic stay over at my place in 2010. Crazy times, lol.
Then of course, there is my ever-growing love and passion for Photography. I love that I can take a moment and freeze it in place for all of eternity, while the world around me swiftly moves forward, with no patience for the past. The strongest lens I have with me 90% of the time is the small limited view of my Blackberry handheld cell phone; you think I let that stop me – not likely. The fact that I was in the company of some of the most beautiful people I have ever met just sweetened the deal for me. I have captured hundreds of moments that give perfect allusion to the real life presence and personalities of these eccentric cosmopolitan youths. Their individual fashions boast the finest in international influences, uniquely styled by the creative experimental South African hand. Towards the end of my course I finally stopped thinking about doing a series of Black/White portrait series, actually changed my camera settings to black/white and started snapping. I love these photographs. The theme they create. The idea that we could have been any group of young intellectuals in the world during any era of this Earth’s many years. To me they are Timeless…
Girls’ night in: Slumber Party (old school style)
…or at least, it was supposed to be any way. Most of the girl’s had to cancel and it just turned into a late night chill session with some new guy friends who were kind enough to bring Thuli. LoL!
Thuli if you ever read this: “that mission was epic and will go down in history alongside the glorified deeds of all the heroes known to mankind!”
Lmfao, yes I had to go get all dramatic there!
Ehm, ok enough with the inside jokes – love how this has such an ‘old school RnB/Soul’ music video vibe J
Recycling the Antique / Retro fashion style
Thuli in one of her soulful, old school ensembles. The jersey-dress, the long thin barely-there scarf, the hair and the glasses. Always classy, always feminine. Fashion is proof that history does repeat itself, although maybe not in a circle but in a winding loop, as once suggested by Author Terry Pratchett.
It is late autumn in SA, and we are sitting outside on campus, just before class and a few days before we write our final exams. As always, an early morning and a little chilly weather is no excuse – conversation is interesting as always and passion is never lacking.
Roxanne: Mother. Friend. Soulchild. *Baker*
“When did you take this?! How is that you always catch me laughing?” –Roxy, June 2011
The strongest, most mature and balanced 20 year old I know – and yes that is considering everything else; for all those of you out there who may judge… this is one of my absolute favourite pictures of you I’ve ever taken.
Mick: The Prodigal Son returned…;)
Love, love, love Mick and his chilled vibes. The relaxed, almost lazy happy go lucky that follows you around boy, is awesome. Can never be down or ‘depro’ for too long around such lol. And oh, how I love the hair! Missed having you on campus in 2011, but hey eventually the real world beckons…
Totally lookin’ like the COOLEST guy on campus in this one hahaha!
Mandy: The Socialite-Academic
This girl is driven, motivated and dedicated. No doubt she makes it big someday – success is soon to follow.
Mandy with Brooklyn, Roxy’s son and DJ2.2’s favourite little fame monster in the world.
Down Time: Regular chill sessions… before, during and after class…
…What can I say? The reality is that students don’t really spend all their time confined within the restrictive bounds of those 4 walls we call classrooms. A lot of the time, we make sure life happens elsewhere too. How else are we supposed to form meaningfully life-long friendships the world so often credits college with?
Afternoon session by the poolside at Thuli and Mandy’s new place (commune).
I miss those days already. School is out and apparently it’s time to move on. Most of us will never see each other again; some I have already gone a full 8 to nine months without even a facebook post. Hence, my a-fore mentioned love for photography. I’ll always have some physical evidence of this time… for a day when my mind is fuzzy and I can’t quite remember how I got here. Because now a new journey begins and I can’t wait to live what’s next.
“Just a girl, just an Ordinary Girl…”
I am Aurora Abel; this has been my journey so far…enjoy the rest of the ride.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
"There is a tide in the affairs of men / Which taken at the flood leads on to fortune / But omitted and the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and miseries / On such a full sea are we now afloat / And we must take the current when it serves / Or lose the ventures before us."
My friends and I presently find ourselves in exactly such a situation. Our two-year journey is nearing its end. For most of us the next six months of this experience will determine where we can hope to see ourselves in the next five years in terms of our careers. But it is left to the individual, like all those before us, to seek – and find – opportunities that will propel us forward and grab hold of them with the ferocity of an enthusiastic lion cub hoping to impress its mother on its first solo hunt.
We must ponder all available options and weigh the possible consequences of every action or decision. "Do I study further, or do I trust that I am as prepared and learned about my chosen profession as lessons in a college classroom will ever do?" We find ourselves in a time when, even now after two years of studying Journalism and learning the principles, anything can change and send us spiralling in a completely different direction.
Some of us have already gone out into the field and have had the pleasure of seeing our own names in print. Some have realised the true pressures of a life in journalism: the stressful high-strung atmosphere of the news room, the long hours spent chasing a story, the non-negotiable need for factual accuracy, the realities of the media's obligations to the public and the next-to-no-time deadlines under which one is expected to submit their finished product for publication.
Yet some others do not feel ready to jump into the chaos that is journalism. While others are sure of their abilities and see their path clearly before them, there are just as many of us who remain uncertain of where we can expect to find ourselves professionally in the space of the next two years. It is a daunting thought when we must admit to ourselves that nothing is written is stone – there are no guarantees for any of us in this 'cut-throat' business... The future will be determined by our determination to succeed and our refusal to take any word that resembles a 'no' as the final say on whether or not we can fulfil our dreams or achieve our goals.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Swaying to the soothing ebb and flow of the rhythmical sounds of beating African drums, and the soul-wrenching but wordless song of the African woman, one cannot deny the intense impulse to join the dance. Arms reaching towards the heavens, legs stomping bare feet into the smoothed sand below. The tribe's trance-like dance leaves you intoxicated.
Welcome to Earth.
It should come as no surprise that music is the kind of refuge to the soul that a bomb shelter is to anyone awaiting an impending doom. Only hours after an earthquake crumbled the lives of thousands in Haiti, earlier this year, CNN showed footage of survivors who had gathered in huddled groups and sang to sooth their pains. Songs of faith: songs of a nation's past and history, shared and known by all.
A man whose house had been spared walks out into the streets to find that others in his neighbourhood were not so lucky. He returned to his house and re-emerged carrying with him his guitar. He proceeded to wonder the neighbourhood throughout the night singing to those who he could still hear were alive beneath the crushing weight of what was once their home.
What that man did was to me an affirmation of a truth my father once told me. He said: "Look how amazing is the African, hmmm. Even at the worst of times they find a reason to sing. Music is our strength. Even the slaves, when they were out in the fields, would sing in order to keep going."
The beauty of music is in the power it is capable of unleashing on the human soul. It is somewhat impossible to say why it is that a song upon its first hearing might lead you to tears or force you to reopen unhealed wounds. It is also difficult to say why a certain amount of healing does then begin to take place.
Long before Man discovered tangible speech or language, he knew how to sing. And what determined the nature of the song was the pure and raw emotions seeping through, straight from the heart. A low tuneless humming could express content or the repetition of long, drawn-out moans express deepest sorrow or mourning.
Oliver Wendell Holmes once said: "Many people die with their music still in them. Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out."
Just as powerfully expressed in music as the emotions of joy and anguish, is hope: The idea and heartfelt wish that things will change for the better. And though there is no certainty that they will, sometimes it is enough for man to hope. Music has the power to provide such hope. And for this reason, music can never cease to exist – it cannot be removed from us. For without it, we lose the message of hope, and without hope a vital part of the human soul might too cease to exist.
Prejudice, Silence, Injustice.
Gabriella hates Mankind. Today her heart sees its evils and recoils from the sting that pierces it. Today she watched a man fall to the ground – and in that moment, she heard not a sound.
She walked the streets relishing in the warmth, not only of the recently darkened sky, but also the carefree banter with friends.
"You know you love me, both of you." Jordan said, a sly grin playing across his lips.
"That's what you think," was Gabriella's sarcastic reply.
"Oh really, is that how it is now?" Jordan challenged, still grinning.
"Yeah, we only put up with you." Antonio said, placing his hand on Jordan's shoulder in mock sympathy.
Gabriella had only met Antonio earlier that day, but she had enjoyed his company from the moment that they had met. For a seventeen-year-old, he was rather tall and extremely well built. He had very wide shoulders and big muscular arms – the body of a warrior. His hair was jet-black, though she could tell that it was not his natural hair colour from the ginger-blonde tone of his eyebrows and the tiny triangular bit of hair directly under his bottom lip. He had blue eyes and an easy smile, which made him comfortable to look at.
"Exactly, couldn't have said it better myself Antonio," she said, genuinely enjoying the moment.
It had been a long while since she had been able to leave behind the worries of everyday living – to stop for a second and to enjoy simply existing. It was at times like these that she was most grateful for her friendship with Jordan. She didn't see him often, in fact, they spent a few days together twice a year at most – if they were lucky. As strange as the nature of this friendship was, even stranger was the way it had begun. That however, is a story for another time.
Now Gabriella stood between the two young men, the image of 'a rose among the thorns'. She looked up at Jordan, but not for longer than a second, because she had long ago committed to memory his short dirty-blond hair and ice-blue eyes. He had changed dramatically since she last saw him. He was more muscle than she had ever seen him – he certainly looked different to the senior she had met in high school. He was also much 'goofier' now, than he used to be, and his absurd and uncanny behaviour always made her smile. The streets were not completely void of other living beings, but not too many other souls wandered about. As they headed toward the store, they passed a man sitting on the pavement on their side of the road. Gabriella paid him very little attention, until the man mumbled something loudly, which she did not really understand. She felt no fear of the man – why should she, when she had two well-built young men on either side of her?
"Oh, shut up." She muttered fiercely, barely loud enough for anyone else to hear.
"Gabriella really hates those men," Jordan said to Antonio in a 'matter-of-fact' tone. "She can't stand them."
"I don't hate them, it's just so damn irritating to have to live with that," she said, her tone clearly alluding to the man's reaction to her walking with her friends; the fact that they were male; and the way that she was dressed.
It angered her that she could never leave her house without having to steel herself for the inevitable catcalls and whistles that would soon follow. It might not bother her so much on a day like today – when she was all dressed up. She had worn her favourite black pair of jeans with a grey waistcoat and the bulkiest pieces of jewellery she owned. It all starts to get too much on every other day though, and for this reason, she had become a master at the art of giving the 'cold shoulder'. Though she was not vain, she knew herself to be a beautiful girl.
"It's to be expected though, hot girl like you," Antonio said smirking, "It's not like they can help it."
"Oh, please," she exclaimed, "it's so typical of them to treat women like that.
"You know my sister and I get so pissed off at them that we loudly say things like: 'is there a dog around here somewhere? I think this man may have lost it.'"
"That ought to get them thinking," Antonio said, his voice dancing with laughter.
"It's not funny," she said, hitting his arm lightly with the back of her hand, "and I swear it only happens to me with the men in this country."
She was not a native of this land and though men in her own country approached beautiful women on the street all the time, hoping to get to know them better, they tended to do it with a lot more class and charm. They didn't whistle or shout 'hey sweetie' from across the street, they walked right up to her and boldly introduced themselves and in a slightly old-fashioned manner, made clear his intentions. Antonio had made her laugh though, and she continued to smile and the light-hearted atmosphere that had been the tone a few minutes before, began to settle in again.
"Oh, yeah," Jordan suddenly said as if he had just remembered something. "By the way, she only dates Latin men, so we don't even stand a chance with this one," he said jokingly.
"I don't know what you're talking about Jordan, 'cause I am Latino, so I definitely still have a chance." Antonio chipped in before anyone could say anything else.
Gabriella could not help laughing at Antonio's witty reply even though she did not know what to think of it yet. Antonio came from a multi-cultural background.
"I don't even know what I really am," he had joked earlier when they had been getting acquainted with each other.
By now, they had reached the store. They headed straight for the frozen foods section in the back of the store, where they could get the meat that they needed for their meal later tonight. The striking differences between Gabriella and her two friends, had heads turning to watch the trio as they passed. They all pretended not to notice and continued to joke and laugh as though the history of the land had nothing to do with them.
They made their own rules; set their own norms.
"Just because I'm such a nice person," Jordan said slyly, "I'll let you choose the coldrink for tonight."
"Fine," said Gabriella, making her way to the fridges. She stood in front of them for a few seconds deliberating.
"I have made my choice, and it is final," she declared in a highly dramatic voice, when she had finally decided.
She opened the third of four refrigerators and pulled out a two-litre bottle with a blue cap and green liquid inside it. The paper wrapped around the bottle was a bright green with the words 'Spa-letta' printed on the front.
"You see, I told you she's not normal," she heard Antonio whisper at Jordan, as she walked back towards them.
He intended her to hear every word.
"If she were normal, like the rest of us, she would have taken a bottle of 'Coke'," he said grinning.
"Whatever," she said, while she pretended to give them both a stony, disgusted glare and made her way to the pay counter.
She saw Antonio whisper something else to Jordan and smiled at the idea of having met someone so fun and entertaining. She also wondered why it was only at times like these - when she was with Jordan and his friends - that this crazy, witty side of her personality shone through.
They paid for the goods and left the store.
"So I do still have a chance, don't I?" Antonio asked, falling back into their earlier conversation easily.
"You might, but Jordan's not completely right. I don't only date Latinos," Gabriella said, playing along. The truth was that, though most of her boyfriends had been of Latin decent in one form or other, she did not really care whom she was with as long as they turned out to be decent and entertaining human beings. She was just about to elaborate when Jordan stopped short and held his arm out to restrict her.
"There's trouble," he said suddenly.
Still preoccupied with their conversation, both Antonio and Gabriella stopped and looked around, confused.
"What?" Antonio asked.
"There's trouble," Jordan repeated, pointing slightly ahead of them, to a place across the street.
The sky had now darkened fully but it was clear enough to see that a man was attacking a woman. She tried to fight back.
"Fock off!" she kept saying, her voice loud and insistent.
It was ragged and her breaths were short and sharp. She struggled to fight him off.
"Fock off," and again, "Fock off."
Another woman stood very close to them with her baby wrapped securely to her back. As the struggle intensified the baby began to cry, terrified. Gabriella didn't know exactly when it happened, but as she looked on, a third figure appeared and joined the struggle. The figure was of a man. He had a weapon with him. It was a Taser – a hand-held electronic device used by the police to incapacitate dangerous and violent criminals. The sight of the sharp blue sparks immediately sent adrenalin coursing through her veins.
Only arms and legs could help Gabriella to identify the ball of mass rolling violently on the ground, throbbing and thrashing, as three human bodies. The baby on the onlooker's back was screeching now. Its ability to seek help depended on a limited vocabulary – the name of the only protector it has ever known: "Mama."
The man had freed the woman of her attacker.
"Jordan, let's just turn around and walk home in the other direction," Antonio suggested, concern clear in his voice.
"No, I'm not leaving," Jordan said after a second of thought.
I'm not leaving, Antonio," Jordan said stubbornly interrupting Antonio.
Shocked as she was, Gabriella found room for anger in the jumble of emotions that already overwhelmed her.
"Why do you have to be a hard-ass, Jordan," she demanded, glaring at him. "Why can't we just leave?"
He ignored her. Ahead of him, five or six other men appeared, crossed the street and joined the man who had helped the woman. They began to push the attacker around and kick him while he was down. Gabriella saw one man kick the attacker in the face. She had seen enough.
"Guys, please do something," she pleaded, tears filling her eyes. She was sure that they would kill him.
"What do you mean, 'do something'?" Antonio asked her gently.
"I don't know;" she said frantically, "call the police. Something."
"The sad thing is that even if we did call the police, they wouldn't come here."
The more she thought about it, the more helpless it made her feel; it was true – the police wouldn't do much, if their record of accomplishment was anything to go by. She had lived in this country long enough to know what was likely to happen. She could see it now; how it would all go down:
'911, what is your emergency?'
'A man is being beaten up on the street, by seven other people. It started out as someone trying to help someone but now I think it is a race thing. It's really bad. Please, please hurry. '
'Ma'am, calm down. Where are you?'
'At the corner of 5th and 7th, in Montana View.'
'A dispatch car will be on its way...' (In the next century!)
Much as she hated to admit it, Antonio was right. There wasn't anything she could do about it.
"Let's just go and get out of here," he told her softly.
"I'm not going there," she said, terrified. She had realised just then that she would have to pass very close to the scene to be able to leave in the direction he was suggesting.
"We're not going there. We are going to walk right past it, ok. Onlookers usually get pulled into the mix if they stick around too long."
She did not know which to trust – her instincts, or those of a stranger she had met only hours ago.
"Let's go," he said softly, urging her forward.
She followed him. She could not help looking to see what was happening.
"Don't look there," he told her firmly, "just keep walking and don't look."
The seconds stretched, deliberately trying to sabotage her in this moment of chaos. Twice she turned her head to the side, and saw how they still had him on the ground, weak and losing consciousness. Twice Antonio told her "Don't look. Keep walking"
They turned the corner and that world of chaos fell away behind them. Inside her, a tornado was beginning to gain momentum, ripping the foundations of all her dreams and beliefs and ambitions to shreds.
Gabriella and Antonio walked in silence. They could no longer ignore the realities of the people around them. They could no longer pretend that the country's history and its cultural differences had no effect on them. The events they had just witnessed made certain of that.
"That black guy was trying to rape that woman, just by the way," Jordan's voice came from behind them, "And I'm the hard-ass." He finished in a sarcastic tone.
Gabriella walked faster. She was already so angry with him, but what he had just said was hurtful and so infuriating.
"Jordan, just – before you go getting all 'high-and-mighty'..." Antonio began.
She did not hear much more than that and was glad to be left to her own thoughts.
'That black guy,' he'd said.
Had it slipped his mind that she, his so-called 'best friend' was black too? And what difference did it make that the attacker was a black person? Surely, they would not have thought it acceptable if he were a white man. It had been too dark for her to see if the woman was, in fact, white; but again, why should it have mattered to them? Had she been black, would they have simply turned a blind eye and pretended that they did not see? 'Leave them to their own.'- would that have been their attitude?
She was burning to throw those questions at him; demand that he answer her.
'If I, Gabriella Estréla Solaris, were the one being attacked, would they – would you, Jordan – rise as quickly to my defence?' She ached to ask, but she didn't.
She continued to walk in silence. Antonio and Jordan joined her a few minutes later. Like before, they stood on either side of her and together, they walked toward home. Now there was no carefree banter or smiling. Now the weight and cares of their world lay heavily on their shoulders. To anyone who may have seen them passing by, they still looked united, though a lot less spirited. They knew that with every step they took, a brick was being laid to each respective wall – building a boundary between them and cutting away at the trust that once bound them.
For three years, Gabriella was able to trust and rely on the idea that Jordan did not see just race. She had trusted that not everybody returned to that ignorant and imperious way of thinking. Was she naïve and stupid to think it? For the first time since the start of their friendship, Gabriella resented the differences that made her friendship with Jordan interesting. In part, she also resented Jordan for being a member of the 'superior' race; 'the chosen race'. It hurt her even more to think that she had not tried hard enough to influence the situation. She should have called the police regardless of what she might have thought – then at least she will have tried to do something.
The man had been wrong to attack the woman.
The 'rescuers' had been wrong to take the law into their own hands.
Jordan had been wrong to defend their misguided and opportunistic actions.
Antonio had been wrong to discourage her from trying to call the authorities for help.
She had been wrong to let herself be silenced, and simply walk away.
It made her no better than any of them.
She had seen a man fall to the ground, and in that moment, not even from her heart, did she hear a sound. Today she hates Mankind. Today she absolutely loathes Mankind, because today she may have been one of the last people on earth to see a man alive.
Monday, August 31, 2009
From where they stood, the city lights were beautiful. The varying shades of yellow lights that surrounded them and the sky-scrapping buildings that hosted them were and enchantingly dark black in the backdrop of the lights, instead of the ugly, dull grey that was their usual appearance during the day. The sky was clear and though there wee not many, stars were visible in the usually vacant sky. This night would have been perfect if not for the reason Allison had rushed up the stairs to the very top of Michael's apartment building. "Michael, no", she said, "Pleas listen to me. You can't do this."
He did not turn around. He had not expected to see her tonight but he was not surprised by her presence. He had seen her park her car and rush across the street to the entrance of the building where he lived. He moved closer to the edge of the building and squared his shoulders, not looking down. "Michael, please."
Allison was close to tears now, her voice breaking on the second word. The only thing that kept her from crying and screaming for help was the fear surging through her veins, chilling every inch of her soul. "Why not?" Michael challenged an edge to his voice, "What difference does it make?"
He couldn't stand it any longer, the constant anger, the pain and the waiting – waiting for something, anything to finally put an end to all of it. Allison had tried to help and he really hated himself for letting her down this way but she could never truly know or understand what it meant to feel the feelings that haunted him every minute of everyday.
"Michael..." He could tell that she was in tears now and he knew exactly what her face would look like: the pain, the anguish and how her face eyes would be silently pleading. He couldn't look at her.
"Just leave Allison. Go away. There's nothing you can say now that will stop me." He squared his shoulders once more and took a final step toward the ledge. He turned his head to the left and stared into the night. Taking mental snapshots of everything, he looked slow and hard at everything in sight. 180degrees of cement, streetlights, buildings and sky lay before him. He would have loved to turn full circle but that would mean having to look at Allison – it would ruin his mental pictures and would also give her false hope. He turned his head skyward. The moon was high in the heavens, though it wasn't full.
"You can't do this." Allison insisted, her voice thick with sobs and full of desperation. "Please don't do this." Despite all his best efforts, Michael looked back at the girl standing on the rooftop with him and told her sadly: "You've still given me no reason why I shouldn't." Allison was silent a moment. 'Good,' Michael thought, 'she's finally given up.' Then she took a step forward. She was standing right next to him now, staring out into the distance the same way he was. The tears had left ugly streaks of mascara on her face.
"You can't do this," she said, "because if you jump, everyone else falls."