A short story. If you could change your name, what would it be?
I saw her jump. But I wasn’t really expecting her to – if that makes any sense. What I meant to say is that she was looking down into the water for a while, just standing there hanging against the wooden railing. Then, she got up to her full height – which was very tall – and stepped over the railing. I thought it was to just get a better view. It wasn’t uncommon for that to happen, a lot of tourists wanted to get a better look at the ruins down below so of course they would jump the barrier and ignore safety precautions. Long ago I had stopped warning people because they would just tell me I was chicken.
Sometimes they would even laugh, finger me and yell: “YOLO!”.
Right. You only live once. So did that mean that they could possibly end their life just then? If so it didn’t make sense.
But anyway, back to this girl, I was slowly watching her as she leaned forward, tempting fate, her fingers barley clutching onto the wooden railing. Suddenly, she pulled herself back up, did a cross thing on her chest and jumped. All within mere seconds.
No one else saw. No one else noticed. In fact, there was no one else to notice because it was only me and that girl around.
So, without thinking I threw the sheet I was folding aside and ran to the edge of where the girl had fallen – or jumped. Whether it was an accident or not, this girl needed saving. It was a long drop down into the clear water, it got deep fast.
As I leaned down I realised that the girl had already gone under. There weren’t any ripples in the water though, no evidence of shadows of a moving body fighting for life.
Was she dead?
I ran towards a place where I knew the water wasn’t too deep, and dove in. the cold water stabbed me like knives, leaving me in shock for a second, but quickly I regained my composure and swam to where I had seen this girl go down. There was no sight, but I looked straight forward, and up just a little bit. There was a cavity in the wall, and there stood the girl in. She seemed to be terrified to see me – but I was even more terrified to see her. She wasn’t even wet!
“What are you doing?” the girl demanded as she took a pathway down to the water’s edge to meet up with me. Her voice was a whisper so no one else could hear.
“Well, you fell down and I thought you needed saving,” I explain in an agitated tone. Had I just dumped myself in the water for no reason?
“As a matter of a fact I don’t,” she muttered. “I didn’t fall. I jumped. I had to. What you didn’t see was that I had a cord wrapped around my waist to prevent me from falling to my death… well… this was actually supposed to be my ‘death’,” she used her fingers to quote. “I needed to fake my death in order to change my name,” she hurriedly continued.
“Oh…” I was very confused as she helped me get out of the water.
“I know, it’s confusing,” the girl sighed. “But please, don’t tell anyone. I mean anyone! As far as you’re concerned I’m dead.”
“So… what’s your name anyway?” I casually ask trying to warm myself. The air coming down was freezing as it mixed with the water.
“My new name is Amanda.”