9 years old. August. Being the early bird I was, I was awake at 6 am which seemed like the perfect time to clean my precious hamster’s cage.
To be responsible, I cleaned his cage outside. My mom didn’t like it if I left his bedding on the porch, so I walked into the yard, just in case I spilled.
A huge high-rise towered over my house. I looked at that high-rise a lot. I knew it had a haunted elevator shaft, and that my friend Ed lived on the third floor. I did not know that people could stand on the roof of the high-rise. I never thought that someone would jump off of it.
Until someone did.
His scream is a sound I would never forget. He landed head first, dented the pavement. How would I hide that from Mom? I didn’t say anything. Someone else called 911.
I spilled some hamster bedding on the porch.
**not part of the memoir, just a separate note: we were later informed that this particular soldier had recently returned home from deployment to find his wife pregnant with another man’s child. The photo is the actual high rise from which he jumped, which you can see now has fencing around the top as a preventive measure.