3:14. I have no idea why, but most nights, after sleeping for a few hours I wake up, and the clock displays those numbers. I dreamt of falling bodies last night after drifting off, probably around 4:14. I think my subconscious mind has stored things I've seen; put them into a vast file cabinet somewhere that opens at times when whatever force propels me feels I can handle it.
Last night, in the hours between four and six was time to clean out the falling body file.
He paced on the top floor of the parking garage for hours, finally resting on the ledge. Then he lie down, on his back, and looked toward the sky. Eventually he rolled onto his side, and looked at the ground. Finally he rolled over, and crashed five stories to the ground.
He took the elevator to the top floor, opened the door to the roof with the key that was entrusted to him as head of maintenance for the building. He paced, and hesitated, and took a few dry runs. Finally, he let it go, and ran full speed ahead to the edge, and flew off the side.
The crowd, impatient and bored after spending nearly an hour stuck in the traffic jam that he had caused egged him on as he moved closer to the edge of the bridge. The tower ladder approached from the opposite side, firefighters ready to wrestle him off the ledge. The closer they got the more the crowd cheered. Finally, he let go, crashing to the highway some forty feet below him.
She stood on the off ramp, lonely, depressed and exhausted from walking. She had walked for hours, thinking about things, her father, who was dying, the mother she wished she didn't know. A truck driver saw her go over, and called us. It's a strange thing, approaching the scene, seeing a crumbled heap in the roadway, under a bridge which you drove under a few minutes ago, when nothing but pavement filled the space.
They snuck out a window, a dangerous operation to begin with, more so now that ice had formed. His friend made it, he did not. He slipped, and fell eighty feet onto the cement below. He lived for a little while, we did what we could, but the feeling of falling accompanied me all the way to the ER.
He's old, and inside the mall. Third level, nothing but a railing keeping him on the ground. The place is full of shoppers. He doesn't see the,. and rolls over the railing and crashes to the ground. Some little kids scream.
She's sitting on an escalator railing, having fun, acting goofy. Her fiance is next to her. She loses her balance, tips over the edge, hits her head on a steel beam twenty feet later, then falls another twenty feet. He's looking at me, staring, seeing too much, expecting too much.
He sits on the window ledge at the homeless shelter, fifth floor, looking at the crowd below him. They don't know he's there-until he splatters in the middle of them.
Tomorrow we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. I'm barely Christian, but can't help wonder why last night, of all nights I dreamt of people whose lives ended on my watch. I vaguely remember learning about the ascension, when Jesus rose to heaven. The older I get, and the more I see, the more comfort I'm finding in what I used to think of as kid's stories.
Might be time to re-open the faith file.