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rooftop.doc
Keywords male 856621, female 739377, rat 15377, vent 1503, depression 828, no sex 791, serious talk 2, thoughts of suicide 1
Rooftop

By XP Author


The night sky was surprisingly clear tonight. The moon, not quite full yet, hovered overhead. Though it was pretty hard to see much in the way of stars thanks to the light pollution of the city. At least the roof was fairly dark, making the street lights ten floors down clear. A single figure stared down at those lights, standing on the edge of the roof. The rat was surprised how far ten floors really was as he looked down. The apartment building was so easily dwarfed by the towers downtown, making it look small by comparison.

The man stood at the edge of the roof, feeling the breeze pass by him and ruffle through his messy brown fur and long, graying dirty-blond hair. He had left his hair loose for this, instead of his normal ponytail. Why bother being fancy when you were just going to make a mess. His clothing reflected the same mentality. Well worn, faded blue jeans that were threadbare along the inseam and seat, and a dark purple polo shirt that didn't quite fit him as well anymore, if only by half a size.

"Hello." He flinched as the voice spoke nearby, despite its soft tone. He turned his head to look for the source of the voice. It didn't take him long. Standing several paces away was a woman, a fellow rat, about his age, only her fur was a softer cream color, and her tail-length, sandy tan hair was in a loose ponytail. She was dressed in relaxed clothing, a plain blue t-shirt a size too big, and stretchy sleep pants of a similar color. Bright blue eyes looked into his own gray gaze with concern.

He sighed. "Don't... don't try and stop me. Please. Just leave me alone." He had thought no one would see him up here. Not until it was too late. He closed his eyes, turning his head away from her. "I've already made up my mind."

The woman shook her head slowly. "Then why are you still standing there?"

He looked back at her, surprised by the question. "What?"

She tilted her head a little. "Well, if you really had already made up your mind, you'd be on the street right now, wouldn't you? So what's keeping you standing there?"

He just gave her a questioning look. "Why do you care?"

She gave him a soft smile, taking a single step closer. "I find a man standing on the edge of the roof to my apartment building, and I get a little curious as to why."

He sighed, closing his eyes again. "Fair enough." He shook his head slowly. "I don't know why I'm still standing here. One last look at the night sky, I guess."

She nodded slowly once more. "I can get that." She smiled, looking up. "I come up here a lot. Especially on clear nights like this. Just stare at the sky." There was a long moment of silence, filled only with the sound of the city; cars in the distance, the wind passing between buildings, construction work on an overpass somewhere downtown, a siren echoing from somewhere far off. The woman spoke up again. "Do you mind if I have a seat?"

He looked at her again. She had gotten closer, leaning on the low brick wall he stood upon. She was still more than an arms length away, keeping her distance to not spook him. He shrugged at her. "Sure. It's a free country. Or at least so I'm told."

She smiled to him, setting down two coffee mugs on the flat top of the wall. He hadn't noticed she was holding them. She hoisted herself up with a little effort, swinging her legs over to dangle off the edge slightly, her tail dangling off the other side behind her and swaying slowly. "There we go." She picked up one of the coffee mugs and took a sip from it.

He looked down at her. "Do you always come to the roof with two mugs?"

She shook her head with a slight smile. "No. But it's not every day I come up to find someone up here. I thought you might like some coffee." He gave her another questioning look. "Think of it as a last mug if you have to. You're already enjoying the view of the sky."

He sighed again. "Alright..." He crouched down, then slid his legs out to sit on the edge, much like the woman beside him. He reached out and took the mug. It was a plain white ceramic, the brew inside a slightly lighter brown than his fur, closer to the color of the woman's hair. He took a sip. It was sweet, but not too sweet, with a hint of cinnamon and a few other spices. "It's..." He couldn't help a slight laugh creeping into his words at the absurdity of this situation. "It's actually pretty good."

She smiled at him. "Thanks. I mix up the blend myself. Medium roast with a splash of vanilla, touch of hazelnut, and a dash cinnamon. With just a bit of cream and sugar." He couldn't help but get a slight smile as her own lips widened into a proud grin as she described her blend. He took another sip, but sat in silence, just staring at the steaming liquid in his hands. She broke the silence again. "What's your name?"

He looked at her. "Oh... um. It's Jim."

She couldn't help a giggle. "Jim? Well, good to meet you. I'm Jen." She had giggled at the similarities to their names, and he smiled just a little at the same. "So, Jim. Why were you standing on the edge of the roof?"

He looked at her again. "Pretty obvious what I'm up here for." She just gave him a soft smile again. "Yeah, you wanna know why. Because I'm a failure at everything. I'm a terrible person, and I don't deserve friends. All I do is let them down or hold them back. My living is just a burden to everyone around me."

She frowned. "Oh, that can't be true."

Jim looked down a little more. "It is, though. I'm 37, I can't hold a job, everything I try to do falls apart, I'm not good at anything, and what I'm at least passable at, I can't do anymore anyway. Hell, my mother has to pay my rent for me." He looked at her. "Just think about that. 37, and I'm still relying on my mother to pay my bills."

She nodded slowly. There was clearly a lot going on in his head. "Tell me about what you can't do anymore."

He blinked. "Why? What does it matter?"

Jen just gave him a smile. "I want to know. I'm curious like that. What harm could it do to have one last conversation, right? So tell me about it."

He let out another sigh. "Fine. I... I was a massage therapist, for about 10 years."

She smiled. "Oh? You work at one of those fancy spas?"

He nodded. "Yeah. For a little bit, at least. They're super pretentious though, and I didn't really fit there. Plus, there's kind of a... kind of an issue being a guy and a massage therapist. A couple of issues, actually."

Jen tilted her head. "What kind of issues?"

Jim just shook his own head. "It's stupid, and it'll sound really petty."

She chuckled softly. "Then go ahead and sound petty. Who's going to care after tonight, right?"

He glanced sideways at her. She had a point at least. "Yeah. Well, there's kind of a double standard in the industry. A bit of a reverse of the typical gender bias. A lot less people want to get touched by a guy, even in a professional setting. The industry still hasn't gotten rid of the notion of... y'know, the 'happy ending' thing. I mean, you'll never find that in a real spa or clinic or whatever, but the general public still think of that." He took a breath and let it out slowly. "So you've got that, paired with people thinking that, if you're a guy doing that job, you're there because you just want to touch naked people's butts or something. Or your gay... and just want to touch naked people's butts. And so guys get booked about a quarter of the time as the women. So less clinics hire guys. So when I left the spa, I couldn't find a job for a while."

Jen listened to him quietly, nodding slowly. "I can see why you think it might sound petty. Just sounds more like a PR problem. Or... optics, or whatever it is the big businesses call it these days."

He shrugged. "I dunno. But I did get the bright idea to try and start my own business instead."

Her ears perked up a little. "Oh? That's pretty impressive, actually."

He shook his head. "Not really. I barely ever made ends meet. I had a lot of fun for some events, sure, but at the end of the day, it just wasn't very profitable. I tried for five years to make it work. But... in the end, I had to close my doors due to the stupidest thing ever." He held out his left hand and made a fist. Even from the short distance away, Jen could hear his knuckles cracking as he clenched. "I got arthritis. Left hand is worse, but it's in both. Knees, too."

She winced, both at the sound his joints made, and at what it meant. "Yeah, I can see how that might end a profession like that."

He nodded, letting his hand drop back to his lap. "Yeah. It's so stupid. Something so common and simple utterly destroyed the only thing I was actually really good at." He laughed despite himself. "I destroyed my body trying to heal others." He shook his head. "I closed the doors to my business officially three years ago. I had already been pulling back from it for over a year before then, booking less clients, doing less events, that sort of thing."

She nodded at him. "What did you do after that?"

He laughed. "I tried streaming games online! But... that never went anywhere, either. I stopped early this year because no one ever watched. After nearly four years of trying that, I had more bots than real people show up. It was no different from me just playing games by myself, only I had to pretend to talk at people that weren't there. Which... made it so much worse, actually."

Jen nodded again. "Yeah, I can understand that. Putting yourself out there is risky. Gotta get lucky and hope you get noticed."

Jim looked at her. "What about you? What do you do?"

She smiled, both at the question, and the fact he was able to think of it. Him thinking to even ask was a good sign. "Oh, I'm a writer. Not... like, published or anything. I do transcription work to make ends meet, but creative writing is what I love to do."

He got a slight smile. "Oh? What kind of stories do you write?"

She blushed visibly through her fur, laughing awkwardly. "Oh... uh... heh. Porn, mostly..." She glanced away, her tail swaying behind her with her nervousness. "My stories aren't very good. Not a lot of people read them, but I still like to write anyway." She gave him a glance. "So I kind of get where you're coming from on the streaming thing."

He chuckled softly at her. He remembered the coffee in his hand and took a sip from the cooling liquid. "Well, at least you're able to still do something to pay your bills. I haven't been able to keep a job outside of massage for more than a few months at best. Or streaming, I guess, but that barely paid anything, so it hardly counts as a job. I think I made maybe $700 in all 4 years combined."

Her ears fell back a little. "Ouch. I'm really sorry to hear that. I see why you might need some help with rent then." He just nodded. She looked at the space between them, then back to him. "Mind if I scoot a little closer?"

He looked at her, then at that same empty space, then back to her. He nodded slowly. "Sure..."

She did just that, scooting her but along the wall to get a little closer to him. Now sitting within arms reach, though not quite up next to him, she gave him another soft smile. "So you said that you only disappoint friends. How so? You seem like a really nice guy."

He looked away. "I'm really not. I've got anger issues. N-not the violent kind, not against people, anyway. I've never hit anyone outside of when I did martial arts, but that's part of the training itself."

She smirked. "You did martial arts?"

He nodded. "Yeah, back when I was in high school. Taekwondo. Got my black belt, too. Only 1st degree, but it was the first thing I ever really accomplished."

She gave a bigger smile at him. "Hey, that's really impressive."

He shrugged. "I guess, but I haven't practiced in almost 20 years now. And..." he pat his rounded belly. "I'm pretty out of shape these days..." He wasn't obese by any means, but definitely overweight.

Jen nodded slowly. "Hey, I get that. Getting older sucks for keeping in shape. I used to be a dancer back when I was younger."

"Really?" He actually looked at her for the first time, more than just acknowledging her presence. She had a thin figure, and age had been kinder to her than to him. He had gray streaks in his hair and flecks of it in his fur, while she had no such issues. She was quite pretty, as well. Maybe not model level gorgeous, but she was still above average at least. "You look like you're still in pretty good shape to me."

She smiled softly. "Thank you. I still do a little exercise from time to time, but nothing like what I used to do when I was a teen. I've lost quite a lot of flexibility since then, too. And yeah, a bit of that pain in the knees thing creeps in now, so I can empathize with that, too." She waved her hand dismissively. "No changing the subject though. Back to you supposedly being a bad friend."

He nodded. "Right. Sorry. That's a part of it, though. I'm really bad at staying on any topic in a conversation. I'll lose friends when we talk as I just go on tangents like that. And the anger thing, I'll sometimes just get so... irritated for no reason and pop off at them. And now with me being so... depressed all the time, all I ever do is complain." He shook his head. "I've driven off so many of them with that. Plus they're all adults, so they've got jobs and families and lives of their own to worry about. I can't expect them to just sit there and listen to me rant on about the same thing again, or force them to follow my meandering thoughts."

Jen nodded slowly. "Do you listen to them when they complain?"

He shrugged. "I try to."

She smiled to him. "Then that's the best you can hope for. To just be there for each other when you're depressed and upset. If they aren't, then they're not good friends." She reached out and gently touched his shoulder. He tensed momentarily, then relaxed under the soft touch, though she could feel his muscles still trembling slightly. "I don't have many friends, either. Most of them are online, and I certainly don't agree with them on everything, but we're still friends. That's just how it is."

He nodded, his shoulders sagging a little more. "Yeah... I guess so. I mean, I already know that, but it still feels like all I do is complain. Hell, that's all I'm doing now, and I barely know you."

She smiled at him. "I asked for it." She looked down at her mug, seeing it was empty. She pat his shoulder gently, then slid off of the wall and back onto the roof itself. Turning to face him, she held out a hand. "Now, are you going to take the final push off that edge, or are you going to come inside with me to get some more coffee, and let me actually get to know you?"

He looked at her, his eyes falling upon that hand stretched out to him. He felt himself starting to shake a little, fighting sudden tears, and he had no idea why. He held out a shaky hand, then took hers. She smiled as she helped him off of the edge and back onto the roof. His legs felt shaky, and once he was on the solid surface fully, she put an arm around his middle to hold him steady. He was grateful for the gesture, leaning against the shorter woman. Surprising himself more than anything else, he just started crying. "I'm sorry..."

Jen shook her head, helping him towards the doorway that would lead back inside. "Shh, it's alright. Cry as much as you want. I'm here."

He sniffed, feeling like an idiot as he leaned against the relative stranger and sobbed like an infant. "Thank you..."

She just nodded, smiling softly to him and doing a pretty good job supporting his weight as he clung to her. "You're welcome."

*     *     *


Jim groaned as he woke up. Opening his eyes slowly, he found himself in his own bed. He was still dressed in the same clothing he had been the night before. Sunlight was peaking around the curtains over his window. He rubbed his eyes, which were still sore from all the crying he had done. Years of pent up feelings had poured out of him. He had spent most of the night crying against the pretty woman who had helped him downstairs to his own apartment. Turns out they lived in the same building, only she was three floors above him.

He didn't remember going to bed, but she must have helped him there at some point. Of course he was alone in his small bed, not that he expected anything else. It wasn't like he was in any mood for anything last night anyway. Plus he wasn't the type to do that with a stranger, even one as pretty as she had been. And now she had seen him at his literal worst, so thinking of any more than that was just as out of the question. He shook his head to get his mind out of the gutter.

He sat up, hearing his back pop a few times as he stretched and let out a yawn. He felt a little lighter than he had before, emotionally at least. Venting all that he had to the woman had helped. He wasn't cured of depression or anything so cliched, but he felt like he could at least try and keep going for a little while. If for no other reason than to talk with Jen some more.

He swung his feet out of his bed, and felt his foot bump against something warm and fuzzy. He blinked and looked down over the edge of the bed, only for his eyes to go wide. Jen sat on the floor, leaning against the edge of his bed, arms folded in her lap as she slept. He saw the slow rise and fall of her breathing. He just stared down at her in shock. Like him, she was still wearing the same clothing from the night before.

His movements woke her, and she let out a tired groan of her own. She pushed off from the floor to sit up more fully as her eyes opened slowly, yawning a little as she clawed her way out of sleep. She looked to the side and saw his foot hanging beside her arm, then up at him and his shocked expression. "Oh, good morning."

"You stayed..." He stated the obvious, almost not believing it.

She nodded to him. "Yeah. Of course I did. I couldn't leave you alone like that." She reached out and touched his calf gently. "You feeling better at least?" He just nodded to her. "Good." She pushed herself up to her feet and stretched her arms a little again. He watched her tail sway about before catching himself and looking up at her instead. "Now, I think I'm going to need a shower. One should do you some good to." She turned to look at him with a big smile. "After that, I'll treat you to breakfast."

He finally snapped out of his dumbstruck state. "Oh... you don't have to do that."

She gave him a big smile. "I know. But I want to." She reached out and patted his shoulder gently. "You going to be okay while I head home and grab a quick shower?"

He nodded. "Y-yeah. I'll be okay. I'll do the same. Uh, shower and change, that is..."

She smiled again, and he led her back to the door of his apartment. She smiled at him in the hallway. "I'll meet you downstairs in, say, 20 minutes? Half an hour tops."

He nodded to her again. "Yeah, that sounds good." With that, she turned and made her way to the stairwell up to her floor. He watched her as she walked off, unable to keep a slight smile from his face. Maybe he could try going on for a little while longer after all.

*     *     *
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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First in pool
Last in pool
My male and female halves have a conversation on a rooftop.

This is not one of my usual stories. No kinks here. It's a more serious thing that I felt I needed to write. This is a bit of venting from me. I've been having some mental issues lately, and I needed to just put something down. It's going to live in my scraps. This actually helped quite a bit. A nice bit of therapy for me.
I'm... not fine, but I'm also not done.

This had like, 3 or 4 alternate endings in my head, though I only wrote this one. They go from dark to cliched to a little trippy. If anyone wants to read those, let me know in the comments, and I can write up a follow up.

Keywords
male 856,621, female 739,377, rat 15,377, vent 1,503, depression 828, no sex 791, serious talk 2, thoughts of suicide 1
Details
Type: Writing - Document
Published: 2 weeks, 2 days ago
Rating: General

MD5 Hash for Page 1... Show Find Identical Posts [?]
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azazel1337
2 weeks, 1 day ago
it hurts to say this reminded me a lot of myself.
XPAuthor
2 weeks, 1 day ago
A lot of people I know are going through some pretty hard times. Which makes my petty issues seem even more inconsequential, but that's a bad mental space to be in. Trying to pull myself out of it still. I am doing better. I hope you feel better, too.
azazel1337
2 weeks, 1 day ago
you are a very, very good author. i love all of your work, you being able to present yourself in such a vulnerable state of mind makes me respect you that much more. keep your head up <3
XPAuthor
2 weeks ago
Thank you. I will try my best. Or at least try.
Zombiewolfen
2 weeks, 1 day ago
Wish I could find friend like this right now. Can relate to this guy so much I’m loseing everything right now due to a crazy ex
XPAuthor
2 weeks ago
Jen is my female side. Jim is my male. Everything he said... is me. Is my life so far... So this is just me talking to myself. The yin and yang. One of the alternate endings I came up with was that it was just him talking to himself the whole time, literally talking himself out of it. Which, in a way, this was to myself. I've had the thoughts, but it's always a step too far. This was just putting those conversations in my head to print.

I'm sorry to hear about the crazy ex. I've had one or two in the past to some degree. Maybe someday I'll write about one... Best of luck with everything.
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