The prompt for today was ‘your favorite inspirational quote and what it means to you.’
Well, this is a not-very-inspirational story based on a ridiculous idea I had while thinking about people being inspired by quotes… enjoy!
Richard’s dark hair was tousled by the wind as he peered off the rooftop of the office building at the parked cars six stories below. The toes of his black dress shoes poked over the edge and he held his hands out to steady himself.
It was all over now; there was no way he could go back to face his co-workers after what he’d done. The whole office had seen him print twenty-two copies of the expense report instead of two. There had been sidelong glances, snickers, and even a gasp. He groaned and covered his face just thinking about it. Mary Waters, the receptionist who he’d been in love with for years, she’d seen it and gone right to Jacob Bower’s desk. Richard let out a wail. Just the other day she had nodded at him as he walked past her desk on the way to the bathroom, but now, she was talking to Jacob!
Richard looked down at his only escape, and with a small spark of solace saw that Mary’s red Honda was parked across the street below. If he could land in it, and end his life near her in some way, he could die happy. But, it was so far to jump, he’d probably land in the street. A gust of wind pushed him, and he waved his arms to keep his balance.
He heard some shouting and saw a small crowd pointing up. They were standing next to another car he recognized. Jacob’s black Mustang sat shining, straight down from where Richard stood.
Richard thought about all the hours he’d spent staring at Mary, all the smiley faces he’d left at the end of his emails to her requesting more business cards, or asking her to refill the copier. All that time together thrown away by a stupid mistake. If he landed on Jacob’s car, maybe she’d understand how he felt. But, it would be so much more meaningful to land on her car, across the street.
Richard pulled on his hair and cried to the sky at his dilemma. As he rubbed the tears from his eyes, he saw a billboard on the building across the street. It was a painting of a clear blue sky, dotted with a flock of birds above a calming green field of rolling hills. Some text overlaid the scenery, it said:
The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.
Richard felt a sudden peace come over him. It was true, so true. He knew what he had to do. He stepped back from the edge of the building.
He returned to the stairwell door on the other side of the roof and leaned against it. Oh Mary, he thought. We could have been happy.
He remembered the time she had smiled at him, December 22nd at three PM. Oh, what an emotional day that had been. He remembered the time she said ‘hello’ to him, as she handed him a pay stub he’d forgotten to pick up. His heart had soared for weeks. Yes, Mary, he thought. I’ll aim high for you.
Richard took off in a sprint toward the edge of the building, and leaped off.