Evan is almost sad as his feet bring him closer and closer to his final destination.
Not sad in the sense that he was sad about what he was doing , but more about the place he was doing it, because the bridge near the orchard is a nice picnic spot in the summer, even if it is all dried up at the bottom, and, well. Who would want to picnic at a bridge that someone threw himself off of?
Because — because who is Evan to ruin this place for everyone? Who is he to taint what is, really, such a lovely spot with his own issues? And what is he going to do if someone is there? Leave and come back? Wait it out? What if someone sees him, what if—
Evan stumbles as the road shifts from cement to dirt, his hands instinctively moving out in front of him to soften the blow. Bits of gravel bite into the exposed skin on his hands and arms, but the pain pale in comparison to the not-so-distant memory of his drop from the tree.
Right. The tree wasn’t high enough.
As he stands and inspects his arms, he notices the tan line on one of his arms in the fading daylight. The reminder of his first failed attempt spurs him forward.
His hands curl and uncurl of their own accord as he walks, itching for something to keep them occupied, because since he stopped taking his meds he’s had the strongest compulsion to be moving and doing something (like take his pills, but he can’t because he needs those) but the whole bottle is stored away neatly under his bed and even when his fingers cramp from twitching and his panic attacks get worse and more frequent he can’t okay, because he needs them as his last ditch if he can’t—
His phone buzzes in his back pocket, startling Evan enough to stop moving completely.
Maybe it’s his mom. Maybe she knew he was lying about going to Jared’s, maybe she got to take a shift off, maybe she knows what he’s planning because, really, how well did he hide his pills?
Or maybe it’s Jared, because maybe his mom called to make sure he was still coming over, which she hasn’t done since Evan was, like, ten (which was the last time Evan was even actually over there) but he’s been using the ‘Jared’ excuse a lot, lately, so what if his mom called Jared and Jared is calling to ask why he isn’t at his house, or maybe why Evan even said he was coming over at all.
Or, maybe, it’s Zoe Murphy, maybe she’s realized that Evan has been in love with her since, like, seventh grade and has called to tell him he’s a creep and he should fuck off? But why would Zoe be calling Evan anyway? They’re not even friends, they’ve talked maybe two times, Evan couldn’t even ask her to sign his stupid cast at the beginning of the year. Zoe wouldn’t call him. How would she even get his number anyway? Why would she even want to?
He hesitates before pulling out his phone, and the brightness of his screen momentarily makes him squint.
It’s not his mom, it’s not Jared, and it’s certainly not Zoe.
Hi Evan! It’s Alana, Alana Beck! We got assigned that project together? I actually have a new partner, she’s new and she’s deaf and I’m the only person that knows sign language so I said I’d volunteer to be her partner! Anyways, hope you can find someone else to do the project with!
Evan stares at his phone until the screen goes dark. He places it into his pocket, and continues walking.
By the time Evan reaches the bridge it’s long past sunset and everything around him is bathed in hazy blue. There’s no one in sight and there probably hasn’t been in a while; the air is still and everything around him is dead silent.
The bridge, a wrought iron structure that sticks out like the bright red sore thumb that it is, stands out only slightly in the twilight backdrop, and with little hesitation Evan steps forward until the cool metal of the closest support beam is in his hands, giving him something to curl into. The blunt lines of his fingernails don’t even begin to make a dent, a stark contrast from the bruised crescent moons in his palms.
In the darkness, Evan is afraid to even breathe. Afraid to upset the quiet beauty the silence around him creates. His lungs feel heavy in chest, and as he glances far below he winces at the idea of his ultimate end being the thing to upset the peace in this otherwise beautiful spot.
He leans fully on the metal of the bridge, exhaling as gently as possible.
He usually enjoys silence; strives for it, even. He has spent countless hours of his life trying to perfect himself, turn himself into someone that is silent, doesn't draw attention, doesn't make too much noise. But here, now, faced with the overwhelming reality of the silence, of the loneliness, of the fact that even if he did make noise no one would be there, it's sort of harrowing. Disturbing if he thinks on it too much. But he is calm.
Silence is the worst when it's palpable, Evan decides as he stares out into the long-dry riverbed. When the air is so thick that breathing takes strength, when the quiet is so pure, he can only hear the ringing in his ears. So fragile that a drop of glass could shatter him.
The air is tangible silence, and Evan is suffocating.
Despite the tense atmosphere he’s created, he’s calmer in this spot than he’s ever been before. He’d been here many times before — mostly as a kid, but more recently to test the bridge’s viability as a means to an end — but a sense of dread and foreboding always clung to his insides until he was far, far away from the edge.
The first time he came since his childhood he was so scared he could hardly walk without his knees giving way. That was about a month after he broke his arm, and sometimes he would get sick because when he was only holding on with one arm, he felt too much like he was swaying.
The times subsequent were easier. After figuring well, hey, this place is pretty high up, why not? he came back again and again to test things out. Dropped rocks from the bridge and timed how long it took for them to hit the ground, surveyed how often people came for picnics, found the point highest from the ground.
No one actually knew how far away from the ground the bridge was, and when Evan had come on one of his visits armed with a tape measure, his results had been inconclusive. From what he did gather, though, his tape measure was reached just past halfway to the ground, and that was good enough for him. It was certainly higher up than his tree had been.
But now, after running all of the tests, observing all he could, planning every detail down to the way he wanted to land, Evan is calm. His chest is heavy, deep breaths are hard to come by, but he is calm.
He lifts a foot experimentally and dangles it over the edge. The air is still enough that the shoelaces on his sneakers don’t even shift. Still holding onto the bridge, he swings his foot back and forth, testing the feeling of weightlessness.
There’s a beat of hesitation, but Evan lets go of the red metal and looks headlong into the ground awaiting him.
All is calm, and he takes a step.
“What the fuck.” The stillness of the night is shattered to pieces, and Evan scrambles desperately to take hold of the bridge again. The loss of the silence brings about the loss of control, and within moments he’s hyperventilating, hands sweating and heart racing.
Evan glances over his shoulder and in the darkness can make out a slight, tall figure standing at the very edge of the treeline.
“I-I’m sorry?” Evan chances in response, eyes on the person as they step forward.
And, well. Of all the people he expected to see tonight, Connor Murphy was not one of them.