Call of the Void

L’appel du vide as they say in France. This is the urge people get to jump from high places, to push people under trains, to stab someone when they are holding a knife.

But what makes people think this? It always fascinated me, and then one day I found out.

A driver of a BMW cut me up as I filtered to join the highway, I swore at him, so much I’d have made a sailor blush. With a road rage I had not felt before, I sped up and followed him. He didn’t recognise me, or even look in his rear-view mirror, as I stared at it hoping to get a glance of his face.

Just drive into traffic I thought to him, Just twitch the steering wheel, just a little.

The car fish tailed in front of me, before regaining control; I gasped.

Drive off the road you little shit, all it takes is one turn.

And with that, the car swerved, smashed through the barrier and plummeted. I laughed like I’ve never laughed before, somewhat excited, but also shocked. It must have been a coincidence.

So, that brings me to today. I am standing on the sidewalk of a large metropolitan city. I have binoculars, which I use to focus on the people who look over the edge of a particularly high building. They look happy, enjoying the view. It’s not windy, the weather is quite pleasant.

Go on, just climb over, get a better view.

I watch the man look both ways before vaulting over the safety barrier and onto the open roof.

Good, now just look over the edge.

He looks nervous but excited as he peers down to street level.

Just open your arms and fall, everything will be okay then. Everything will be wonderful.

The man stretches out his arms and calmly leans forward. His body accelerates as it plummets. I follow it with the binoculars and wince as it hits ground. A second later I hear the thwack. I’m pretty confident now; that’s the forth one today.

Just one more… you know, to be sure.

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