Colin stood on the edge of the cliff at Beachy Head, the notorious suicide spot. The average life span is 70 years, but at 45 years old, Colin felt as if he’d already had enough of living. As he stood there depressed, the wind blew through his short brown and greying hair, and his tall thin frame was slightly hunched as he looked out to sea.
Colin was startled to hear a woman’s voice suddenly.
“Excuse me,” said Jenny.
Colin looked around and stared at Jenny, who looked about the same age as him, but was much shorter, with long black hair and a slightly plump figure. “Yes,” Colin answered.
“Are you going to commit suicide?” Jenny asked, her face pained.
“Yes, why,” answered Colin, “Your not going to try and talk me out of it are you?”
“No,” Jenny answered, still looking pained, “I’m going to commit suicide myself. I’m just a bit frightened though. Do you think we could jump together?”
Colin looked slightly startled, then said, “I suppose so.”
Jenny went and stood beside Colin and they both stared out to sea without speaking for a while. Jenny then said, “Before we do it…Could you do me a favour?”
“What?” Colin asked.
“Could you take a photo of me with my phone?” Jenny asked, then added, “I’ll then text it to my mum. Not that she cares about me. She’s got schizophrenia and said that she couldn’t cope with me when she was young, so she put me in care.”
“Really?” Colin asked, “ My mum gave me up for adoption when I was three. I tracked her down a year ago…I’d been looking for her for 15 years, but when I found her, she said that she didn’t want anything to do with me. She said that I reminded her of the past that she was trying to forget. She said that I was the result of a one night stand with a musician who later killed himself.”
“I’m so sorry,” said Jenny, “I didn’t know.”
“No need to be sorry,” replied Colin, “Its not your fault…My mum is mentally ill as well.”
“Schizophrenia?” Jenny asked.
“Oh,” said Jenny, “That’s quite similar.”
They are both silent for a few moments, looking out to sea, then Colin asked. “Do you want me to take that photo then?”
Jenny took her phone out of her pocket, set it to camera and handed it to Colin who stepped back a few more feet from the edge. “Just press the red button on the screen,” Jenny said.
Colin lined up the composition and said, “I know you probably don’t feel like it, but maybe you should try a little smile.”
“Ok,” Jenny said, then smiled weakly.
Colin took the photo and he smiled as he looked at it and said, “It’s a nice photo.”
“I don’t do nice photos,” Jenny replied sullenly.
“What do you mean?” Colin asked confused.
“No your not,” Colin said, “Your actually very attractive.”
“Are you having a laugh?”
“No,” said Colin, “I’m being serious.”
Jenny then said, “My ex says I’m ugly. He used to tell me that all the time. He used to say that I was lucky to have someone like him, and that I should be grateful as no one else would want me.
“How horrible,” Colin said looking confused, “I can’t believe someone would say that to you.”
“He used to say it all the time.”
“Its not true,” Said Colin, “You look lovely.”
Jenny didn’t reply and just stood there a moment looking morose, then she took the phone back from Colin and said, “I’ll text mum that picture now.”
Jenny tried to text the photo, but moments later her phone beeped and she looked at it and said, “Shit.”
“What…What’s wrong,” asked Colin.
“My phones run out of credit. It says I’ve got insufficient funds to send a text.”
Colin then said, “Do you want to use my phone? I’ll take a photo of you with it and text it to your mum.”
Jenny smiled slightly and said, “Ok…Thanks.”
Colin took his phone out of his pocket, looked at it, frowned and said, “Oh dear.”
“What…What’s the matter?” asked Jenny.
“My phones not on,” said Colin, “The batteries gone flat.”
Jenny sighed and said, “We’re not having much luck are we?”
“Story of my life,” Colin replied looking morose.
Jenny suddenly perked up a bit and said, “I’ll tell you what. Why don’t we go into town, I’ll put some credit on my phone, then we could take a picture of each other and we could text them to our mothers.”
Colin seemed surprised and perked up also, then he said, “OK…You know what, this may really seem a bit strange, but I suddenly really feel like a pint of lager.”
“Really, that is strange,” replied Jenny, “Just before you spoke I suddenly tasted Bacardi and Coke on my tongue. I could really do with one now. Why don’t we go into town, I’ll get phone credit, then we could have a couple of drinks for Dutch courage, then we can finally go and kill ourselves.”
“Ok,” replied Colin, “I suppose there’s no need to rush is there?”
Jenny and Colin went into town and Jenny topped up her phone credit at a cash point machine, then they both went into a pub and sat in a quiet booth with they’re drinks. Colin took a swig of lager from his pint glass, then asked Jenny, “So why do you want to kill yourself?”
Jenny sighed, then replied, “For more reasons than I care to say.”
“Well give me some of the reasons,” said Colin.
“Well there’s a first,” Jenny said with a hint of bitterness, “Someone who’s actually interested in what I’ve got to say.”
Jenny took a swig of her Bacardi and Coke, then continued, “I was with my fiancée for seven years. We were engaged for six years and he just kept making excuses not to marry me…Two weeks ago I came home from work early and saw that he was packing his clothes in a suitcase. He’d been planning to leave without even saying goodbye, and there was a letter from him saying he was moving in with his secretary, who was pregnant by him.
“His secretary is fifteen years younger than us. We’d stopped having sex a year ago, and he just kept making excuses, saying things like he was tired all the time…I started to get a real complex, thinking that I was really ugly as he didn’t want to be intimate with me anymore, and he was always abusive, insulting me and putting me down. And now I know that his energy was always spent as he was banging the little tart at work in his office.”
Colin raised his eyebrows in amazement and said, “I don’t believe it.”
Jenny was momentarily confused, “What.”
“I know exactly how you feel,” Colin continued.
“How?” Jenny asked.
“My wife did exactly the same thing,” said Colin, “she’s a university lecturer and she moved out of our flat three weeks ago, to move in with one of her students who’s sixteen years younger than her.”
“Bitch,” spat Jenny, “I know how you feel. Its devastating isn’t it?”
“yes it is,” agreed Colin, before taking a swig of lager.
Colin took his last mouthful of lager from his pint glass, then said, “I can’t believe how quickly time seems to be flying. I’ve drank three pints of lager now and you’ve drank three Bacardi and Cokes. I was starting to forget what we’re in Beachy Head for.”
“So was I,” Jenny replied, “I suppose I’m ready now. I don’t feel so scared now I’ve had a few drinks…What about you?”
“I don’t feel so scared either now,” Colin replied, “The thing is though that I don’t feel so depressed either. I’m really enjoying talking to you.”
Jenny smiled and said, “I’m enjoying talking to you as well. It actually feels a bit sad that we are going to kill ourselves now. You’re a really nice person and I’d like to talk to you longer.”
They both pause a moment in silence, then Colin said, “Well we don’t have to kill ourselves today. There’s a really nice looking B & B I saw earlier on the edge of town. And there’s a little restaurant next to it. Maybe we could have a meal, get some sleep and kill ourselves in the morning.”
Jenny sighed and slumped slightly, “I don’t know. I’m still feeling a bit frightened. Part of me just wants to do it and get it over with.”
“Yeah, I feel similar,” said Colin, slouching. “Maybe we should just go and do it.”
They both pause a moment in silence then Jenny said, “I am quite hungry though. What kind of restaurant was it that you saw?
“I’m not sure,” Colin replied, slightly perking up, “It looks like a traditional English restaurant. When I saw it I immediately wondered if they do steak, chips and onion rings.”
Jenny suddenly perked up also, “Mmm. Steak and chips. My favourite.”
Colin smiled slightly and said, “Really…That’s my favourite as well.”
Jenny also smiled and asked, “Does today seem a bit weird to you?”
“How do you mean?”
“Well earlier we were both depressed and were going to kill ourselves,” said Jenny, “But we’ve both ended up drinking in this pub together, and even though we’re strangers, we’ve got so much in common…I feel like I’ve known you for years.”
Colin Smiled, “I know…Its weird ain’t it? But its also wonderful as well.
Jenny smiled, “Yeah it is.”
Colin and Jenny were seated at a table in the old English restaurant. Colin cut a piece of juicy steak, put in his mouth, chewed and swallowed and said, “This steak is absolutely delicious.”
“I know,” Said Jenny, “Its mouth watering.”
Jenny cut a piece and popped it into her mouth as the waiter appeared and asked, “Would either of you like anything else?”
“Another beer please,” said Colin.
The waiter then looked at Jenny, “And you madam…Would you like anything else to drink?
Jenny smiled, “Another Bacardi and Coke please.”
“No problem,” said the waiter, then he turned on his heel and walked to the bar to fetch their drinks.
Jenny looked at Colin smiling slightly and said, “That will be my fifth drink.”
Colin smiled back, “Mine too. I feel a bit pissed.”
Jenny giggled, “Me too.”
Colin and Jenny walked up the path to the B & B next to the restaurant.
“Are you sure they’ve got vacancies?” asked Jenny.
“Yeah, look,” said Colin, “There’s a sign in the window.”
Jenny looked at the window, “Oh yeah.”
They both walked into the B & B and stopped at the reception counter and the receptionist looked up and asked, “Can I help you?”
“We’d like two single rooms please,” said Colin.
“I’m sorry sir,” the receptionist replied, “But we’ve only got two double rooms left.”
“Oh,” Colin replied slightly stumped, “So you haven’t got two singles?”
“No, just two doubles.”
Colin looked at Jenny and said, “I suppose we’ll just have to try somewhere else.”
The receptionist smiled at them and said, “Can’t you just share a room?”
“Not really,” said Colin, “We’re not married or in a relationship. We’re just friends.”
“I see,” said the receptionist, then after a pause added, “One of the double rooms has two single beds. Would that interest you both?
Colin raised his eyebrows and looked at Jenny and said, “I’d be ok with that…What about you?”
“That’s fine,” Jenny said slightly smiling, “I don’t mind that at all.”
“Great,” said the receptionist, “I’ll show you to your room.”
Colin and Jenny were in separate single beds a few feet apart.
Jenny said, “Can you believe it. Its three’o’clock in the morning. We’ve been talking for hours.”
“Yeah I know,” Colin replied, “I don’t think I’ve ever met someone that I’ve got so much in common with.”
Jenny smiled, “Me too.”
They pause for a moment without speaking, then Colin asks painfully, “How do you feel about tomorrow?”
“I feel a bit better about it. I’m not so scared. I just didn’t want to jump on my own. I feel better that I’ve got someone to do it with.”
“Yeah, I feel similar,” said Colin.
Again they pause in thought, then Jenny said, “We’d better get some sleep. We’ve got to vacate the room by 10 Am.”
“yeah,” Said Colin, “I’m starting to feel really tired now as well. I don’t think I’ve ever done so much talking.”
“Do you mind if I turn the light off now?” Colin asked.
“No, go ahead.”
“Night night,” said Colin.
Colin switched off the lamp on the bedside locker between them.
Colin and Jenny pulled up in the car park beside the cliffs, and Colin who was driving switched the engine off and looked at Jenny. She looked very depressed and Colin was feeling similar.
“That breakfast was lovely wasn’t it,” said Colin.
“Yeah, lovely,” Jenny replied subdued.
Neither of them spoke for a moment, then Colin said, “I suppose its time to meet our maker.”
“Yeah,” Said Jenny as she unclicked her seat belt.
Colin and Jenny walked along on the grass towards the edge of the cliff about fifty feet away. Neither of them spoke as they continued walking. They then stopped about fifteen feet from the edge, and Colin said, “Shall we not bother with the photos?”
“No,” answered Jenny, “What’s the point.”
They both stared at to sea in silence, then Jenny asked, “Can I hold your hand?”
They held hands and stood there in silence for a moment, then Colin said, “Lets get a bit closer to the edge.”
Jenny felt frightened and spoke quietly, “Ok.”
They took a few steps forward and Colin looked at Jenny and suddenly said, “I can’t do this. I don’t want to die now.”
“Neither do I,” Jenny replied, then she suddenly burst into tears and threw her arms around Colin, who hugged her whilst she sobbed uncontrollably.
Colin and Jenny were seated in a studio of their local radio station, and they were being interviewed by a DJ called Gus Haywood, and the interview was being recorded.
“So let me get this straight,” Said Gus, “Two years ago you met today, on the edge of a cliff at Beachy Head, and both of you had planned to commit suicide by jumping off the edge.”
Colin and Jenny smiled, and Colin said, “Yeah, its true.”
“And now you’ve both been married a year,” Continued Gus, “You’ve wrote a best selling book about your relationship. You’ve been interviewed on numerous TV stations, radio stations, newspapers, magazines, and now forgive me if I’m not correct, but a top British film producer wants to turn your love story into a feature film. Is that true?”
“Yes its true,” said Colin, still smiling as he held Jenny’s hand.
Gus seemed stunned, “If you hadn’t of met each other, chances are you’d both be dead now. What’s the best thing about your lives now?”
“Well for one, we’ve got each other,” Jenny said smiling, “And I’ve never ever been so much in love with anyone…And two, we’ve been reunited with our mothers. My mother gave me up for adoption when I was young, as she couldn’t cope with me as she had schizophrenia. She’s now on very modern medication, and she’s a lot better now. And when she first saw me and Colin on day time TV, she said she was stunned and amazed by our story, and she said that she wanted to be part of my life again. And now I see her regular. I know she loves me now and I understand how difficult it was for her because of her illness.”
“What about you?” Gus asked Colin, “I hear that you’re now in touch with your mother now as well, and that she’d given you up for adoption when she was young as well.”
“Yes,” said Colin, “That’s true. She was also mentally ill with Bipolar and when I initially tracked her down, she didn’t want anything to do with me.”
“So what changed? Asked Gus.
“Well it was a miracle really. She started going to a church Alpha meetings and one day became a Christian. The next day she switched on the TV and saw me and Jenny telling our story on the program Loose Women. She immediately phoned the TV station to get my contact details, and since then I see her regular.”
“How is she? Asked Gus.
“She’s fine,” said Colin, “She no longer needs medication and she’s studying fine art at college.”
“Wow that’s amazing,” said Gus, “The power of God…Not that I’m religious or anything.”
The three of them pause a moment, then Gus asked, “So tell me…How did your rise to fame start? Ok, your not A-list celebrities or anything, though you might be one day. You’ve certainly been in the limelight with your story. So tell me how the media attention started.”
“Well,” Jenny said smiling, “I’d always wanted to be an actress, but no one ever really encouraged me. Not until I met Colin, anyway. He suggested that I could start by becoming a film extra, and I joined an agency for actors and extras etc, called Star Now.
“Anyway, one day I saw an advert on their site, from a magazine journalist saying that he wanted unusual true life love stories. I then contacted the journalist and he wrote a story about me and Colin, and the story was published as a four page article in a magazine. And then soon after, we started getting calls from TV shows, radio and other media etc. Its absolutely crazy, but true.”
“So what are some of your plans for the future?” Asked Gus.
“Well, as you know,” said Colin, “Our book is a best seller, and we’ve just sold the film rights, so now we’re quite well off. We plan to travel around the world for a bit, and just enjoy married life and each other.”
“Wow,” said Gus, “You both deserve it. Honestly listeners…I don’t think I’ve ever met such a wonderful couple.”