Die Laughing or Die Trying


By Vivien Makos

          I wish I could tell you how I got in this situation, I really do. But the scenario had never seemed worth running and I can only focus on one thing for so long since the roar of air rushing past my ears is drowning out my own thoughts.
          But I’ll try my best.
          I started to experience what the French call “l’appel du vide.” It’s the instinctive urge you get when you’re up on a cliff, and against all logic, your knees bend and you’re ready to swan-dive to your certain death because, for some reason, it is the only way you can think of conquering that height.
          But you can’t.
          There is no way to conquer a towering landmass by jumping. There is no way to win against a mountain by leaping, and there is certainly no way to defeat the Golden Gate Bridge by stepping over a railing. So if the feeling is completely illogical, why do my knuckles still turn white, not from fear but from anticipation, when I hold the railing from a high balcony?
          Well it doesn’t matter now because I’m currently falling through the air like a bowl of petunias (see, I make references before I die—that means I’m totally sane) and really all that matters is that I don’t know when the ground is coming. I can only see the clouds receding farther and farther away from my grasping fingers.
          I really hope I don’t hit water. Falling like this already sucks; I don’t need drowning thrown into the mix. How ironic would it be, though, having a surplus of oxygen, only to die from lack thereof? I really hope you’re all laughing because at this point I’m telling these morbid jokes to ease my mind off the idea of painful impalement.
          Do you ever think death is a beauty contest?
          Like, we all imagine that when we die, we’ll be beautiful. If we’re old, our spirit will be young and gorgeous. If we’re young, our spirit stays that way, only we look like we’ve just stepped out of a Clean & Clear commercial because that acne better be gone by the time we get to heaven—am I right? Hell, if that’s what dying is like, Van Gogh probably has his other ear.
          Isn’t death so attractive?
          But what if death is more like Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride? Where limbs and skin hang and fall as we do musical numbers on our deteriorating bones? Because, damn, that makes impalement a much better option. At least then I’d have a cool afterlife party parlor trick. I can already see myself:
          “Hey kids! Want to watch old dead Viv stick her hand through her stomach? Watch closely!”
          The kids would get a kick out of that.
          More air is passing me by and I’m attempting to twist my body to see my final destination. I wonder why I haven’t died from shock yet. Then my spirit would be pretty. I know that sounds vain and awful but at the moment I just don’t give many fucks.
          It sounds strange but death has always been a very comfortable thing for me. The only uncomfortable thing is how it happens.
          I’m able to contort my body to view my destined landing.
          The smooth expanse of gray makes me cringe. Death on impact becomes my mantra.
          Death on impact.
          Death on impact.

          It’s coming closer and closer, until my face slams against the stone and my body is in deep agony from the impact.
          The last thing I think is, “Damn concrete.”
 

Vivien Makos recently graduated from Homewood-Flossmoor High School, and writing is one of her favorite pastimes (although she has considered taking up bungee jumping or skydiving).