Watch Out for that First Step

An adult stories – Watch Out for that First Step by TheBrokenManUnderRepair,TheBrokenManUnderRepair Just a short little story about the aftermath of a broken marriage. No sex.

I tipped my glass, letting the gin flow into my mouth. I’ve grown to like the “gin” made here in the Philippines, although I prefer it cold – right out of the freezer. It’s become my routine to toast the sunset from the top of my 20 story apartment building. Buying my apartment was one of my smartest decisions, although there hasn’t been many good decisions to compete with it.

When I first came back to the Philippines, I was still angry. Not so much angry at her leaving me, or even how she did it. Ladies, let me give you a piece of advice. If you have any shred of dignity, don’t bring your new boyfriend over to move your stuff out of your soon to be ex-husband’s place. Just don’t. Have some class.

No, that didn’t really piss me off that much. I’ve been dumped before. It happens. It sucks, but that’s life.

What got to me was she told me I was the one. Neither of us are spring chickens anymore, and we seemed to have found the last person each of us would ever love. It was that lie that angered me the most. I gave her my all. I gave her everything I had to give. She assured me she would be with me forever.

I had bought into it hook, line and sinker. Instead, she gutted me like a fish. Don’t tell me the lie if you didn’t mean it. It ripped my heart out. It was a cold dagger that I hadn’t expected.

So for a year or two after going back to what appears to me to be the never ending source of the sweet, beautiful women I have come to prefer, I let my anger rage. I drank. I partied. I made an utter ass out of myself.

Filipinas aren’t stupid. Ok, most aren’t going to help you solve differential equations, but they know someone heading for a crash when they see him. They wisely avoided me, as they should have.

And one day, I did crash. It all hit me at once. Not only was I alone, but I was always going to be alone. I was no longer capable of trusting anyone. You can’t offer your heart if you no longer have one. Yes, they saw it coming a mile away. They are definitely smarter than I am.

Maybe it was the remaining stages of grief. I had done anger, and now I had arrived at depression. I punished myself. I stopped going out, except to get more booze and food. Every day was the same. Try to drink the pain away. It never worked.

So, a few months ago, I arrived at the final stage – acceptance. It is what it is. The only question remaining was how was it going to end?

I’m startled by the door to the roof opening. In all the months I’ve been coming up here, I’ve never seen another soul. Not even a building maintenance worker.

A young woman, maybe 25, I don’t know it’s hard to tell with Filipinas, but she ran up to the retaining wall at the edge of the building. She climbed up and sat on it, looking off into the distance as she cried.

I’ve been there, so I don’t alert her to my presence. I let her contemplate her decision and cry in peace.

Eventually I ran out of gin, and the sun had set. I wanted to go back to my apartment, but I stopped with my hand on the doorknob. I knew I would regret it, but I couldn’t just leave. So I sighed and slowly walked towards the girl.

“Don’t come any closer, or I’ll jump!” she gave me a warning.

“Go ahead.” I calmly replied. “I could care less.”

I made it to the edge a couple feet away from her and looked over. We stayed there in silence for a long time.

“Either direction,” I motioned down to the street and then back to the door behind us, “it’s the first step that is the hardest to take. I’ve been trying to take that step for the better part of 7 months, and I still haven’t been able to do it.”

She thought in silence about what I had said.

“What happens after that first step?” she finally asked.

“Well, that direction (motioning forward), and you either learn how to fly or leave a mess on the sidewalk below.”

I let her think about it for a minute. She was never going to jump, but she did need to grow up some.

“The other direction (motioning to the door again), and all you can do is take the second step. Then the third, and so on.”

Again, we stayed there in silence. Eventually, she climbed down from the wall and left without a word.

After she was gone, I climbed up on the wall. I stood up high on it, looking at the Manila skyline start to light up. Maybe today, I finally take that first step myself. Maybe not…

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