One Step Forward
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-One step forward- said the devil on his shoulder, -that’s all it’ll take, just one tiny step forward-
He closed his eyes as the wind whipped his face. Christ, it was cold up here. It would be exactly one year since he graduated from university and the ten-storey building was about to become the instrument of his death. He had been planning this for six months now. No bastard would employ him, he was too qualified for one job, too old for another. On it went, a list of piss-poor excuses not to let him earn a decent living.
The university had been telling him how bloody wonderful it would be to have a degree. Oh yes, wonderful, well now it was graduation day for the next lot of poor, deluded sods. Maybe this would serve as a warning. Once you hit forty years old, nobody gave a fuck how educated you were. He was ten years past that point now.
The wife and kids would be okay with a bit of luck and his life insurance. Her old man would shake his head and tell her how he should have stayed in the factory. But that place was breaking his soul into bits, then grinding it into fine dust. He had heard the sniggers when he told them he was going to university. Airs and bloody graces they accused him of. All that ‘working-class should stay where they are’ bollocks.
This was the rub though, he couldn’t honestly say who was right and who was wrong. He’d already reached the conclusion that BA stood for Bugger All.
-What’re you waiting for? You can’t wimp out now.-
“Shut the fuck up.” he hissed.
-One little step.-
He wondered what it would be like to die. Would he pass out before hitting the ground and not feel the sickening crunch as his skull impacted and split open? After that, would he go to hell or something for doing what he pleased with his own life? The fact of it being graduation day and he was a post-graduate of a year ago would be seized upon by the media. They would probably feature it in the nationals, maybe local tv as well. The irony would surely not be lost on people and that would keep it going for a while. But he knew that he would soon become a statistic, just another poor bugger who couldn’t hack it any longer. Possibly next year, they’d be searching this roof-top first though, that would be funny at any rate.
How many steps had he taken during his life, he wondered. First day at school, stepping through the gate. First date, stepping along the pavement before turning to kiss her. Getting married, stepping across the threshold, wife in his arms. Pacing the hospital floor waiting for that wail that heralded his first child. Now it was down to one more step and another new adventure. Slowly he put out a foot, hesitated and before he could lose his nerve he took one step forward.
In five hundred years time, most of us will be forgotten dust. But Hitler will still be remembered, God loves irony.