Charles sits in his room most of the day, dreaming of how much better his life would be if his feet functioned as properly as they should. Just then, as he is ruminating on the possibility of how beautiful his life should be, his assistant Marcel, a young slender man in his thirties he had employed through the help of an agency strolls into the room, a tastefully furnished thirty meters wide bedroom to ask if he would like to go for a stroll outside for a moment instead of sitting inside all day feeling sorry for himself.
Marcel expects an outburst as usual. A fit of rage from Charles demanding to be left alone as he flings whatever is around him at that moment at his disturber but to his greatest consternation, Charles obliges his request saying,
'You know what? I think you are right', he says with a smile that seems very alien to him. 'I'm not dead. I'm just paralyzed that's all. Please let's go.'
Marcel wheels Charles out of his room into the courtyard and out of the gate as he pushes him around for a little fresh air. He takes Charles through three streets, engaging him in conversations about places as they wheel through, making Charles smile so often as though he is watching his favourite sitcom which he does not have as he never has interest for television, only staring into the sky and watching the birds fly and the clouds move while he calculates his losses in life. Today however he would see life in a different light.
Getting to a pedestrian bridge linking the lands flanking the River Sparringrow, Charles notices a particular man standing at the railings of the bridge, Charles asks Marcel to push him towards the man and this he does. Getting to him,
'Hello sir, my name is Charles. It is a really nice weather we are having today, isn't it?', Charles asks trying to start a conversation.
'Who cares?', the man, Thompson asks rhetorically visibly frustrated at something.
'Oh I do and as a matter of appreciation, you should too', Charles admonishes with a smile.
'Listen to me. I don't know you and I can tell you don't know how bad I am feeling right now so if you don't mind, I was about to end it all before your interruption. By the way, I think you should join me too because you look hideous'.
'You got that right. I look hideous. Damn right, No one would want to be me but look at you sir. You have legs to walk around the place, I have to wait on that young man over there for every move I want to make so don't you think I have every reason to want to 'end it all'?
'Yes, that is the reason I asked you to come join me'
'Well, life's too beautiful to take my life and lose the beautiful things it has to offer untimely. Certainly there comes a time a man must die but by the cause of nation. Otherwise he is a coward running from battles he is well equipped for. Again I don't know you but I am pretty sure whatever it is you are going through would clearly not last forever. Whatever it is, I'm sure if you stay strong, you will be more than proud of who you turn out to be as a result of the hard times which are clearly meant to hone you and not own you'.
'I have lost everything. I lost my job', Thompson begins listing the reasons he feels he should end it.
'There are billions of jobs out there that would be willing to take a handsome, strong young man like yourself sir but they would not see you if you're dead, would they?' Charles tries to encourage him.
'I lost my wife...'
'Again, my good sir. Look at yourself. You can clearly get any lady you so please. Apologies for her death'.
'No, she did not die. She left along with kids'
'Well, she was not to be yours or she did not know value. There are lots and lots of ladies out there I am sure who would be more than happy to be the next Mrs. Thompson but would we ever know if you take your life?', Charles asks rhetorically. 'No obviously. C'mon there is a lot to live for out here.'
He freezes right there on the ledge rethinking his decision to take his own life. He is not certain if going with this paralyzed stranger's advice is the best for him. They just meet for what...like thirty seconds...What could he possibly know about him to advise him on what to do about his issues. He begins dilly-dallying on whether he really wants to go with Charles's advice or go all in with his own. Death, already stimulated to receive him, plays a fast one as he slips and falls off the bridge but grabbing the railing of the bridge, he yells for assistance.
'Help me...No...I don't want to die anymore', he screams as he begins to imagine the gory face of death staring at him and smiling while pulling him towards itself menacingly. He suddenly stops feeling the breeze from the stream on his body as he battles to hold on to the rail that seems to currently hold his life.
'Somebody please help him', Charles screams helplessly. Marcel quickly rises to the occasion ,running across from the park bench where he is seated while he imagined someone else would help Thompson out of the mouth of death. Grabbing Thompson by the hand, he attempts to pull him up but fear seems to get the better part of Thompson as he holds to the rail obstinately.
'Sir, I know you are scared but I cannot help you unless you give me your hand so I can pull you up', Marcel says as he tries to convince Thompson to let go of the rail so he can be rescued.
'But I will fall and die', Thompson's replies fearfully.
'I will not let you fall sir. Trust me', Marcel says reassuring Thompson that he is particular about bringing him safely over the rail.
Seeing he has no choice, Thompson decides to let go of the rail and let Marcel pull him in. Trying hard for two whole minutes, Marcel finally gets Thompson over the rail. Once he is over the rail, Thompson gives Marcel a tight hug thanking him for the save while imagining how he would have drown inside the fast running water or worse still hit his head against some hard surface hidden under the water and died.
'Thank you friendly angel', Thompson says. 'I owe you my life'.
'Oh it's okay sir', Marcel says unwilling to be made to look like some hero who had just saved the Earth.
'And you, worthy sir', he says as he turns to Charles. 'Thank you for the advice. I promise to do as you have advised'.
'Oh...come off it', Charles responds modestly. 'It's always a pleasure to help. Please try to always see the positive in every situation. Life is certainly sweeter that way'
'Thank you so much', Thompson says once more as he walks away dropping his card with Marcel.
'I'm really glad I came out today you know', Charles says to Marcel as he wheels him home. 'We should do this more often'.
Marcel smiles pleased that Charles feels much better about himself now.