Larry Anderson was at the end of his rope.
It was a t-shirt and jeans sort of day. The sun was shinning overhead and a perfect breeze caressed his cheek, but all he could think about was how Cynthia was leaving him.
She was the perfect wife. Breakfast was hot and ready every morning along with a kiss to wish him well on his way to work. She kept their home spotless, despite the messes made by their three year old son, and was accommodating to Larry's every request. But after eight years of marital bliss, their love was coming to an end.
Cynthia had caught Larry with his pants down. Literally.
Their neighbor, Linda "The Minx" Moore, pranced around her front yard in a bikini top, daisy dukes, and kitten heels doing some gardening and other chores. She conveniently sprained her ankle walking on the rock path back to her front door and Larry was there to save the day. What started as an innocent gesture, turned into an invitation for lemonade, then snacks, then the removal of his slacks. He would never forget the look on his wife's face when she walked in on them in the kitchen during their "afternoon delight."
Now six months later, their divorce would be finalized that afternoon, but he had no plans on attending the signing.
Larry was going to jump.
He stepped onto the elevator of his office building and pushed fifteen. That should be high enough. Instant death was the goal, not a life long paralysis. He wondered how long Cynthia would grieve and what she would tell their son.
"Your father was an adulterous so and so!"
The shame wore on him like a ton of bricks. He prayed she would lie.
A tall slender woman got on at the fourth floor. She tried to make small talk, flashing a set of perfect white veneers, but Larry didn't respond. He was too busy admonishing himself for sneaking a gaze at her large breast, money well spent, and shied his eyes away from her long legs and five inch heels.
Cynthia used to wear heels like that.
Before Linda "The Minx" Moore. Before he realized how perfect his life was. Before he grew tired of said perfection and ruined the best thing he had ever gotten right.
The woman got off the elevator on seven, and Larry rode the rest of the way up alone. When he reached fifteen, his cell phone started ringing. It was Stan, his divorce lawyer, probably calling to see where he was. He silenced the ringer and headed for the office near the back corner that was always empty this time of day. Having spent countless times there for Friday morning meetings for the magazine, it felt like being welcomed by an old friend.
The phone rang again.
Larry stepped inside and locked the door behind him. The window was ajar and leftover donuts boxes littered the conference table. It was just after one o'clock, making him a half hour late for the signing. He rescued the last glazed confection from a box and stuffed it into his mouth, wiping sticky fingers across his pant leg, and stared out the window at the beautiful Spring day.
He wondered how long it would take for word to get back about his "fall."
Larry lifted the window up and leaned way over its pane. Head first would probably be best.
The phone chimed once more and he pried it from his jeans with the intention on chucking it to the pavement below.
But he had a voicemail.
Hanging by his waist now, he dialed one and listened to the automated voice tell him he had five new messages.
"This message is for Larry Anderson. This is Susan from Dr. Monroe's office reminding you about your appointment o--" Message deleted.
"Larry, this is Linda, Linda Moore. I just wanted to know if you wanted to get together sometime for coffee and--" Message deleted.
"It's Stan. Where are you man? You better get down here in ten minutes or we--" Message deleted.
"Hey, its me."
Larry's heart nearly stopped. It was Cynthia.
"Look, I've been struggling with these divorce proceedings. It's been a real nightmare."
Larry hung to every word.
"I can't believe I'm saying this, but I miss you. I think we should see a marriage counselor."
Larry's heart jumped for joy at her words, but his happiness was replaced with dread as he lost his footing. He tried to push himself back through the window but the weight of his legs was too great and he went tumbling out. He clung to the phone for dear life, desperate now to hear the rest of the message.
"-- I never thought it'd turn out like this, you know? Part of me feels responsible too--"
No, Cynthia, it's all my fault!
"-- I just want to try. We can still make things work, right?"
Larry twisted his body and shielded his head with his arms, helpless as the ground came speeding towards him.
Larry wanted to live. He wanted to tell his wife how much he needed to hear those words and that he'd do whatever it took to rebuild their marriage. He wanted to hold his beautiful son in his arms again. To call Linda "The Minx" Moore back and tell her she could kick rocks.
But it was too late. He squeezed his eyes shut just as he hit the pavement.
It was softer than he imagined it would be. It didn't even hurt.
Larry slowly opened his eyes, the ceiling fan whirling above him. Blinking in disbelief, he sat up and found himself entangled in his comforter on the floor. The alarm clock read 1:15. He must have fallen asleep. He ran a hand through his hair and let out a long, tired sigh. So he was late for the divorce proceedings after all.
Stan was going to be pissed.
Freeing himself from his bed linens, Larry grabbed hold to the nightstand and wobbled to his feet. Dusting white flaky donut icing from his jeans, he reached into his pocket and read the text from Cynthia awaiting him on the lock screen:
"The signing has been canceled. Did you get my message?"