If One Person Smiles at Me, I Won't Jump
"August, I--we have something to tell you." My girlfriend Jane and best friend Chris looked at me. They were nervous, Jane's foot was shaking- - she hated it when people shook their feet.
"What is it? What's wrong?" These two were all I had; they hadn't turned on me too, had they?
"Me and Jane are in love." Chris answered my question. They had.
I think they rambled on apologies about how they hadn't meant it to happen, I'm not sure. I sat there dazed and angry, I should have known. People suck. They always stab you in the back. Dad took off, Mom married that jackass Phil with his stupid stuck-up daughters, teachers wouldn't pay any help to students who didn't sit in the front row and knew all the answers anyway, and people at school avoided me or showed off by talking about me. Life was hell; why not lose them too to the swirling mass of destruction and pain I knew as my world? I must have stood up and gone to my room at some point because I woke up there the next morning first at six- thirty when I threw my alarm clock at the wall, and secondly at ten when I dragged myself out of bed in an empty house.
My room felt foreign to me, everything did. I though of Ellie, this girl I kind of knew at school and ditched P.E. with a few times since we both left our suits at home, her on purpose since she had scars to hide. I thought of how she sliced open her own skin to watch herself bleed. She told me it was to make sure she was alive. For once, I didn't think she was crazy. I was numb, my senses dead from the rock that had been dropped on me the previous day. I was unsure if it was just another of my nightmares, or at least I didn't want to be sure. Nightmares I could handle, those were normal to me since I was young and I always woke up. I'd had enough of waking up though.
I stood before my mirrors in only the boxers Jane had bought me, the ones she gave me the night she first took them off. I shook my head and changed, taking care in picking my outfit for once almost unconsciously. I thought it a good idea to die in my best clothes, a new black shirt with Kurt Kobane's face on it and loose black cargo pants. I'd thought about this before, but I'd always chickened out or been stopped by Chris and Jane. Maybe the stress of that in their lives brought them together, the thought made a lump rise in my throat but I quickly swallowed it. No time for memories, I cleared my head; I didn't want to get nervous. It was time, I couldn't take it anymore; so why hang around and wait for something that's never going to come?
Still, I couldn't make it definite, I left one option open. I left my mom a letter, folded it in half and taped to the door. On the outside it said "If one person smiles at me, I won't jump." No one smiles at some grunge teenager with stringy brown hair to their shoulders and too much eyeliner. I figured I didn't need to worry, and it would make my reason all the more clear to my mom. I didn't want her to think it was her. I didn't want anyone to think it was them; I wanted people to know it was everyone.
The day was grey, foggy and with a chill that nipped at you like one of those tiny yapping fur balls they call dogs at your heels. I threw on a black sweatshirt with Jack from The Nightmare Before Christmas' face on it and left the house, locking the door behind me. No one was home since it was Thursday and they were all at work or school. School.that reminded me of Delila. She'd just started school two months ago, she hated it too already. She had her eyes, grandmother's eyes, like mine. She was already proving to cause the same trouble those eyes always meant, a fine temper. I wondered how mom would explain what happened to me; the little mite liked me for some reason even as much of a disappointment I proved to be for an older brother. If someone were to miss me, she'd be the one. It was better this way though; at least I thought it was.
I took the 32 towards downtown, the bridge was the link over the river where suburbia ended and the city began. Four other people sat on the bus, two teenage girls that were probably ditching school, a disheveled woman that appeared worried and kept looking at her watch as though she hoped it was going to change the time, and an older man who was perhaps asleep, I couldn't be sure. We stopped at a corner in front of a deli, two people were there. The first was a middle-aged man, he looked at me and shook his head, "Damn kids these days." mumbled from his lips as he passed. Then there was her.
She almost shined, her smile certainly did, overflowing warmth that took the chill off of November. Her blonde curls bounced in their ponytail as she ran up the stairs, stopping at the top of them to show her bus pass then baby blue eyes looked out at the interior of the bus and its contents. I knew she was one of a kind the moment my eyes looked at her. She wore a flowy cream skirt scattered with tiny red flowers and vines and a peasant shirt she probably found in a thrift store with a thick red scarf wrapped around her neck that looked homemade. Freckles went across her cheeks and nose like fairy footprints that only added to her beauty, her warmth. She smiled. Of all the people that could smile at, she smiled at me, walking straight towards my seat.
"Mind if I sit here?" she asked as she placed a homemade knitted pine green bag next to me. I watched her first in silence, barely able to stutter out that it was fine by me. She had smiled; I was saved. I still wasn't sure if that was a good thing or not, all I knew is that she had changed my life forever in giving me an excuse to let it continue. She sat down, smoothing her skirt and crossing her ankles that she tucked under the seat.
"My names Jenny."
Jenny. It fit her perfectly; smooth and your mouth formed a smile just in saying it. "Hey," I said, sheepishly returning a smile, "my name's August." I put my hand out to shake hers and she took it in a surprisingly firm grip, shaking it twice.
"Jack Frost is out early this year, it's really chilly outside." She said taking off her gloves and blowing into cupped hands.
"Yeah, it nips at you like those yappy dogs." I said remembering how I had thought of it earlier, and trying to sound witty.
She laughed, if sunshine had a voice it would sound like her laugh. "Oh yes, I have one of those back home, her names Cleo, a teacup Yorkie." She took out her wallet from her purse and showed a picture of a tiny dog sitting at a park I knew in the area dressed in a tiny purple dress.
"Aww," I said then coughed, trying cover up my feminine outburst. I could have ignored my slip up, but of course I made matters worse by blushing. "Um, well, she's cute."
"Thanks. So, where are you off to?" she asked as she patted her knees, squeezed them, and looked at me with a slight tilt to her head as she observed me.
"Um, well, I'm not sure." It was all I could say. Where was I going now?
"A wanderer then? How I wish I had time to now. College keeps me pretty busy. It's worth it though, you just have to make it through high school first, as hard as it seems at times, you have to do it." She looked at me with a quirked eyebrow. Our eyes locked for a moment before I broke the gaze and looked down.
"Oh, yeah, I guess so. Just have to pull through." I mumbled in agreement, unable to look up at her.
"Your eyes are so interesting if you don't mind me saying." She said and I looked up.
"Oh, um, thanks."

"I think eyes are the portal to the soul, they tell something about the person."
"That what my grandma used to say, I got my eyes from her."
"You're eyes are so tortured, it's beautiful." She sighed and fidgeted with her camera anxiously. "This may sound strange, but could I take a picture of your eyes?"
"What?" spurted out in surprise.
"Oh my, I'm sorry, I sound like a stalker, please excuse me, I'll just shut up. I really don't have an internal editor, oh--" she stammered, her eyes cast suddenly downward and her eyes turning cherry red.
"No, it's okay. I was just a bit taken back is all."
"Really? You don't think I'm crazy?" her face lit up like Hollywood.
"Really, I don't think you're crazy." I shook my head for emphasis.
"That's great because I was asking since I'm a photography major at the college and I actually got a show in one of the galleries amazingly. And my show 'Views into the City' is of people throughout the city with a focus on the eyes."
"You can take a picture if you want, I'd love to be in your show."
"That's great." She clasped her hands and grinned. "Is it ok if I can't pay you, because well I'm just a junior in college, and the book store doesn't exactly pay too much unfortunately." she trailed off and I stopped her.
"Don't worry, it's fine."
"Thank you so much. Sea-green, that's not too common, it'll fit perfect in my show." She said as she opened the camera up, scooting back and focusing the camera on me. I sat there unsure of what to do. She directed me though, "Face your body like you're looking out the window, but turn your face back to me and look in the camera." I was still a bit uncomfortable, I got on this bus planning to kill myself and now I was getting my picture taken. She snapped before I had the chance to ask if I should smile or not. I didn't. "Haunting, sends chills down my spine. What is going on in your head?" she enquired as the camera dropped down to her humble chest. The bus stopped, sending us both forward in our seats.
"Wow, it's my stop already." She was up from the seat before I could answer, before I could stop her to ask for a way to reach her. She took one good look at me before the bus driver asked her if she was leaving or not, and if she was to get off now. "Don't give up, August." She said and kissed me on the forehead, then waved as she ran down the steps. I sat there in shock, things never ceased to amaze me, especially sitting here with a hand lightly on my forehead trying to figure out if this was still real. How had she known? Was she an angel that had chosen to save me for some reason? All I know is that I didn't get off at the stop by the bridge.