Jumper


I hear this song once

I hear this song once. It was on the radio. "I wish you would step back from that ledge again / you could cut ties with all the lies that you've been living in / And if you do not want to se me again / I will understand." It was a catchy tune. One of those punk songs that was mostly the vocals at the beginning but then the instrumentals come in. The song musically was mediocre at best. But the lyrics. Maybe it was a metaphorical experience that the writer was talking about but just imagine that, trying to prevent someone from jumping. It was Titanic all over again except Leonardo de Caprio isn't there to be all level headed. I never realized how it would eventually help me out.


It started with the basics. Nirvana, Tool, Stone Temple Pilots, Yes, Led Zeppelin… I could go on. Those bands whose names spark familiarity in the back of minds. Guitars and drums. Unattractive lead singers whose vocals are near impossible to understand. Then they became angrier, less musical. The quotes from Tool songs, "And I like to watch things die / from a distance" that were hung up over his room.

German hard rock was the soundtrack to my house. That and the yelling of my parents. I produced some of my saddest stories then. I was labeled Fake-Emo Girl because of those stories. But that didn't matter. Home, which was always the place where though criticism was prolific had always been an escape, was crumbling around me. Critical my parents may have been, pushy they may have been, but they were never judgmental. They were never two-faced or cruel. And that was refreshing. But then, I would go home and when my parents would get home, there would be yelling. I would lie awake in my bed, staring up at the dark ceiling wondering when something would change.

Then he transferred and things started to look up. He ditched Rammstein and started joking around with me. School started and his grades were better than mediocre. But they fluctuated, as did my parents moods. Life wasn't perfect but it was more peaceful than it had ever been.

But then came the headphones. I wasn't able to judge his moods by his music. It was as mute to me as the motivators of his actions.

Then he started sneaking out. Perhaps to see a movie with friends or just hang. But he would disappear for weekends on end and at first we worried. But then when he disappeared for a day or two, my parents stopped calling his cell phone. The therapist called it "individuating."

"I know something's wrong/ Well everyone I know has got a reason/ To say put the past away/ I wish you would step back/ From that ledge my friend/ You could cut ties with all the lies/ That you've been living in/ And if you do not want to see me again/ I would understand, I would understand."

I became a mediator. He would talk to me about things. They would ask what they should do about him. I would respond to them in the same way that I did when people at school talked to me. Give them space. Give them time. They'll talk when they want.

I didn't want to be my family's rescuer. But I was perhaps in the middle of the spectrum as far as our personalities went. In terms of my problems and grades, I was thrown on the sidelines. At first I accepted it happily. But it became a little bit a sore point for me. I would joke to my friends about how I'd end up a delinquent because of my family's ignorance of my affairs and their eyes constantly on the older sibling.

He was standing on the edge of a huge crevice. Jumping off would mean leaving my family and my world behind forever. The bonds that would be broken would take too much. My parents wouldn't be willing to give that much and neither would he.

We started going to a therapist. Individual sessions with just him first. Then the family ones. Personality tests, describing each other as animals, and talking about the family issues. It made me feel like a delinquent. The stuff of the stories that I created. Therapy ripped open old wounds. All of my parents insecurities were laid out on the table. I stopped seeing them as parents and more as people. It was a transfer most kids make in the long run but it was quick for me. And perhaps came too soon.

Things entered a climax before therapy and slowly went down. The house was quiet except for his ska music that he blasted on the speakers he had finched from me. I didn't really mind. I finched his headphones. This cacophony of sound would only be broken by my father yelling at him to pay attention to his homework and stop chatting with friends on IM. It wasn't perfect. But it wasn't too bad either.

"You could put the past away/ I wish you would step back from/ That ledge my friend/ You could cut ties with all the lies/ That you've been living in."

He seemed happier. A slightly mocking smile from me could pull a slightly sheepish one from him. I could make him blush with a less-than-prude question. When he asked me for a good book or suggested one to me, I felt like the super-little-sister and it was wonderful.

"And your friends have left you/ You've been dismissed/ I never thought it would come to this/ And I, I want you to know/ Everyone's got to face down the demons/ Maybe today/ You could put the past away/ I would understand, I would understand."

Things at school and things with me were hectic and unsure but things at home were permeated by a peacefulness that made me feel like a character in a sitcom about family healing. But I was ok with the cliché because I knew things would end up okwith my family.


"Jumper" by Third Eye Blind