RENT asked it best: how do you measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, or in cups of coffee? In inches, in miles, in laughter, or in strife? I guess a year can be measured in all of those things. But, for me, there was doubt that a year was measured in 525,600 minutes. And I felt every single one of them.
Maybe that's why I did the things I did; to try to make the time pass by more quickly.
"I can't believe you're doing this!" Rachel called from her spot of the bank of the river. Rachel was one of my best friends and a year older than me. She had been with me through some of the roughest times of my life, even though we hadn't known each other very long.
"Yes you can." I yelled down to her. I was standing on the edge of an old bridge that crossed over the small river, preparing to jump.
"You're going to get hurt." she said, simply.
"I've done more dangerous things than this." I told her.
"I know." she replied. She sighed and looked at our friend Eric standing next to her. "A little help here?" she said to him.
"Sorry." he responded. "She's gonna do it whether we want her to or not." I smiled at that. He knew me too well. I guess when you have been in school with someone every year of your life and hung out with them non-stop, they are bound to understand you better than others.
"I can hear you guys ya know!" I cried down to them.
"This is stupid." she said.
"How many times do I have to tell you?" I said. "The things I do aren't stupid, they're reckless."
"Aren't you scared?" she asked.
"No!" I yelled.
"Of course not." she replied.
"Do you know how many people have gotten hurt jumping from this bridge?" Eric yelled?
"Rob didn't." I replied. Neither of them said anything after that.
Fear never had much meaning to me, even when I was little. If I set my mind to do something, I did it. Unfortunately, this past year, I'd set my mind to do dangerous and reckless things like jumping off of bridges into water. My friends tried to stop me at first. Their warnings and pleads never made me change my mind though.
I took a deep breath and prepared to leap from the bridge when I heard my cell phone ringing from my bag on the ground.
"Who is it?" I asked Rachel as she bent over to grab my phone.
"I don't know." she replied. "No ones named popped up. It's just a number."
"Don't worry about it." I told her, snapping back into what I was about to do.
"Last chance to come down." Eric said.
I shook my head. "It's now or never." I said before I jumped off the concrete bridge and into the cold water.
It was like an awakening. The cold water was nothing compared to the rush I got right before I slammed into the river. I didn't open my eyes while I was underneath. I was still in regular clothes because the decision to come and jump from the bridge was completely spontaneous. They weighed me down to the point where I had to kick my legs forcefully to reach the top of the water.
When I surfaced, I looked over at my stunned friends and smiled. I usually gave them a warning.
"Wanna try?" I asked, keeping myself afloat.
"Yeh right." Rachel said as Eric shook his head with a smirk on his face.
"Let's go." he said, motioning for me to come to shore.
I swam over to them and he grabbed my arm to help pull me onto the bank. "Great." Rachel said, turning to walk away.
"Aw Rachel. Don't be a spoil sport." I joked, running up behind her. I wrapped my arms around her shoulders from the back and hugged her, soaking her clothes.
She shrieked and jumped away while Eric and I tried our best to control our laughter. "Very funny." she said, smiling slightly. "Why am I friends with you guys?"
"Beats me." I said, grabbing my bag and walking towards Eric's truck.
I didn't want to get in completely soaked, so I stripped down to my underwear and asked Eric if I could borrow his hoodie. He tossed it to me while Rachel and he stood on the other side of the truck and she lectured me about how I was going to get a cold. I answered her back by blowing hot air from my mouth and making the cold air outside turn white.
Once we were all inside the warm cab, Eric driving and Rachel in the middle, I reached into my bag and pulled out my cell, looking at the number that called me right before I jumped. It didn't look familiar, but I hit redial anyways. It rang a few times before someone finally picked up.
"Hello?" a male voice said.
"Hi." I responded. "Uh, did someone from this number try to call me earlier?"
"Aurora?" the voice asked.
"Yeh, that's me." I replied.
"It's Greg. Greg Grabinsky." he told me.
It took a second for me to relize what he was saying. "Greg?" I cried.
"Who's Greg?" Rachel asked, tugging on my arm. I shook her off and she started whispering to Eric.
"Hi!" I said into the cell. "Uh, how are you? It's been forever."
I heard him laugh and then he replied. "I'm good. It has been a long time. How are you?"
"Over a year." I said. "But, I'm good too. Um, not to be rude, but why are you calling?"
"Oh, sorry." he chuckled. "You must be curious. I'm looking for your brother actually. I haven't talked to him since I left town but I really need to get in touch with him."
"Oh.." I said sadly. I looked out the window as we drove down the road. We passed sign after sign until we finally arrived back to the streets of our little town.
"I am on my way back and I really wanna see you guys. We should meet up and talk." he told me.
"Yeh." I replied. "We really DO need to talk." He had no idea.
"Oh? About what exactly?" he asked.
"Rob." I said.
"What about him?" he questioned.
I really didn't know what to say. Greg Grabinsky had left town over a year ago to be part of some band. Neither me or any of my family had been in touch with him since. Alot can happen in a year.
"Well," I replied, sucking in my breath. "He's dead."