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On Edge

On Edge
Rudolf Muller (Norway)

It was a cold night. An aspect that had not been given much thought. His hands were slowly going numb on the damp edge of the handrail. Jayce was trying not to give impact too much thought, wondering if it would feel like falling in a dream, where you wake up in bed with a jolt.

Lost in his own world, waiting for the right moment, the faint sound of footsteps pulled him out
of his trance. In turning he could see someone walking in his direction. It took a bit for him to recognize the figure as someone from school. He didn’t exactly know him, but everybody knew him as the blind guy. The cane was a giveaway.

Now would have been a good time to let go, but he was curious. He didn’t move a muscle, instead watching the young man, anticipating him to pass without any disturbance.

“Hey, excuse me, could I borrow your phone?”

Jayce stared perplexedly at the guy who had stopped maybe five steps short of him. His neck was strained in an effort to keep his eyes on him.

The dark eyed boy tapped his white cane on the ground. “You know I’m blind, not deaf. I can hear you breathing.”

It took another moment for Jayce to collect himself. “Well yea, sure I guess.” His voice hurt his ears.

“Oh, I think I know you.” His dark eyes seemed to light up. “You spoke at school assembly about starting a group for queer kids.”

“Ahm, yea.”

His attention flickered away, he looked down and tried to make out any kind of shape in the darkness. How far would be far enough?

“I remember because I was going to join.” He shifted a bit on his feet. “Anyways, what’s your name? I’m afraid I don’t recall.”

“It’s Jayce.” A few seconds were spent wondering what that guy would think if his conversation partner suddenly disappeared.

“Right! I’m Salim, nice to meet you. Jayce is a cool name.”

Jayce held back a bitter taste in his mouth. “Yea, chose it myself.”

“Wow, did your parents let you choose your own name? That’s pretty rad!” He caught a glimpse of a bright grin on Salim’s face.

“It’s because I’m trans.”

“Oh, cool, never would have guessed.” Salim shook off his words with such ease as though he had merely mentioned the weather.

“Anyways, my phone died, and I need to call my dad to pick me up. Mind giving me yours? I’m sure he can drive you home too.”

“Right.” He carefully started to fish in his pocket for the phone. “Here.” he reached out and held it in Salim’s direction.

A few seconds passed in silence.

Then Salim raised his voice. “You do know what blind means.”

“Oh, right.”

He slid the phone back into his pocket and slowly turned on the thin ledge. Hands shaking, he climbed over the rail back onto the sidewalk. “Okay, what number should I call?”