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It's Nothing I Can't Change

by waywardxwallflower


It was nearly morning. The sky was still dark, darker than it had been the night before, or the night before that, or any of the nights that he had stood on this bridge. The sky is darkest before the dawn, of course, but Alexander Hart didn’t think his dawn was coming.

Here he was, again, on this bridge, and here he was, again, trying to think of a single reason why he shouldn’t step forward and let himself fall. He felt nothing—and nothing could ever fill that void inside him. Every post he saw said differently, every movie he watched, every book he read, but every person who knew him said that the void was unfillable. He didn’t want to keep pouring water into a pitcher riddled with holes, to keep filling a pit that could never be full. He could never be full.

It was nearly morning, but the stars were still out, taking advantage of their last moments in the sky, painting it in their dim and swirling light. Alexander often wondered how a city this big could have so many stars.

They beckoned to him, telling him to join them, telling him to fly. He could fly, if only he stepped off this roof, couldn’t he? He could be with them. Maybe they’d even welcome him. But the lives he’d taken, the lives he’d taken—they were there too, weren’t they? There would be no welcome for him, but maybe there would be peace.

Asher, Alexander’s ward-of-sorts, was still horrified by Alexander’s attempts on his own life. It was funny, almost, if it didn’t hurt so damn bad. He didn’t want to hurt him, he really didn’t, but he couldn’t take it anymore.

He’d tried, again and again. Drowning, poisoning, a gun to the head. Why didn’t they ever work? Why did this one feel different?

Why did this one feel different?

“...Alex.”

Alexander heard a voice from behind him, and he started, falling forward. His heart leapt in his throat, and he couldn’t tell if it was from excitement or pure and utter terror. He wasn’t scared of dying; he wasn’t. Why was he scared?

He might have kept falling, if a hand hadn’t caught him just in time. “What the hell, Alex?!” the voice came again.

Youthful, scribbled messily in naiveté, strange white hair almost gray in the starlight. Asher.

Turning to face the boy, Alexander caught his breath and watched Asher adjust to his current situation: that is, process the fact that Alexander stood on the side of a bridge, on top of the barrier, lax and slumping with an ease that spoke of routine.

“What are you doing? Why are you up here?”

Alexander shrugged. “It’s calm. I like the view.”

“Alex.” Asher met his gaze with a dare and a pool of sadness in his eyes.

Alexander merely turned to look to the east, where the sun was still comfortably settled below the horizon. He swung his legs out from under him and sat. Asher climbed the barrier and sat beside him.

“I thought you were joking, you know.”

“About dying?”

His shoulders slumped. “Yeah. I thought there was no way how someone who genuinely wanted to die could fail that many times.”

A pause, followed by Alexander’s quiet, “I guess I’m just unlucky.”

Asher took a weighty breath and looked over the horizon and at the stars growing ever dimmer before it. He nudged Alexander's foot lightly with his own, and another silence stretched over them.

Why did he care? Alexander didn’t understand. He brought good into the world, or tried, but it didn’t matter to him. It shouldn’t have mattered to Asher either. “...do you think it will get better?”

Asher looked at him in surprise. “What?”

“Just… everything. Everything is nothing to me.” Alexander took a breath. “I mean, look around us. It’s beautiful, right? Really beautiful. But I can’t appreciate it, because some void inside me decided I can’t feel.”

“I think it will. Get better,” Asher said.

“How?”

“I mean, nothing is set in stone, right?”

Alexander snorted meanly.

“I mean it! Life is fluid. It changes. Maybe someday you’ll feel, and maybe someday you won’t.”

He knew it was cruel to put all of this on Asher, but he couldn't find it in himself to stop asking. He needed to hear it from the one person he thought might, just might give him a good answer. “What’s the point if I can’t?”

“You’ve got logic. At least you can look at yourself and know, with that impeccable logic, that you have it good. You have people who care about you and a job where you help people. So many people. ”

Alexander hummed a question.

Asher sighed. “Yeah, you hurt people before, but you’re making up for it now. You’re paying back the debt you put into the world, and by now, I think, it’s paid. You put good into the world, and if you can’t feel it yourself, you can at least know that others are better off for you being alive, right?”

“...right.”

Silences kept coming and going, ebbing and flowing. This one was loud, and it crashed and buzzed in Alexander’s ears like the river flowing beneath the bridge and beneath his and Asher’s feet. The same river he’d floated down so many times, hoping beyond hope that his lungs would collapse. Is that truly what he wanted? If he’d wanted to die, fully, completely, one would think he would be dead by now.

As if reading his train of thought, Asher asked, “Is death really what you want?”

“I don’t know.”

The boy hummed. “Do you think you, um…”

“I what?” Alexander turned to look at Asher again, taking in his deathly white hair and gentle eyes. His soul was a tiger, asleep. His soul was a desperate search for peace. His soul was Alexander’s in a sloppily painted frame.

“I mean. I think it’s a need for something else, and death seems like the solution to you.” Asher spoke slowly, hesitantly, intentionally. “I, um… I thought of doing it myself, a while ago. Killing myself. Everything seemed so hopeless, and I wanted things to be different, and death was the easiest and most assured way that they would be. But I kept on, for some reason or another, and you found me, and you saved me.” He paused for a moment, gathering his thoughts. “I think death is appealing if you don’t like the way things are, but—it’s also definite. Once you’re dead, you’re dead. When you’re still alive, there’s possibility.” Here, he turned to gaze into Alexander’s eyes. “I think you want that possibility.”

Alexander looked away first. The stars sizzled out and came together to form the sun’s first rays, peeking over the horizon. Together they sat and watched the sunrise, a strange boy with strange white hair and a broken man who hoped he could feel, and Alexander said, “I think I do.”


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63 Reviews


Points: 101
Reviews: 63

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Fri Jan 14, 2022 6:02 pm
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Rosewood wrote a review...



Hey, Rosewood here!

Okay, glancing at this- I immediately know I'm gonna love it. Your flow is so natural and the main character, Alexander, seems so lifelike and honest about his perception on the card he was dealt in life. I don't know if this is part of a collection of some sort, so I'm a little foggy about the background- but no worries- even so this has definitely caught my interest and attention!

Anywho- let's get into the meat of the story...

It was nearly morning. The sky was still dark, darker than it had been the night before, or the night before that, or any of the nights that he had stood on this bridge. The sky is darkest before the dawn, of course, but Alexander Hart didn’t think his dawn was coming.


Oooh something about the line "...but Alexander Hart didn't think his dawn was coming." is so intriguing to me. Personally, I like hooks that make use of repetition, which i can see was well done here.

He felt nothing—and nothing could ever fill that void inside him. Every post he saw said differently, every movie he watched, every book he read, but every person who knew him said that the void was unfillable. He didn’t want to keep pouring water into a pitcher riddled with holes, to keep filling a pit that could never be full. He could never be full.


I love descriptive stories, so this part was really appealing to me, (aside from the fact I can perfectly understand what Alex is trying to convey). Just wanted to point that out haha-

“What are you doing? Why are you up here?”

Alexander shrugged. “It’s calm. I like the view.”

“Alex.” Asher met his gaze with a dare and a pool of sadness in his eyes.

Alexander merely turned to look to the east, where the sun was still comfortably settled below the horizon. He swung his legs out from under him and sat. Asher climbed the barrier and sat beside him.

“I thought you were joking, you know.”

“About dying?”


The flow, the rhythm, the length- it just all pieces together quite nicely and makes it feel so natural. I would like to say that conversation is definitely a strong point of yours.

Alexander hummed a question.


This is probably just me, but I'm not exactly sure what this is here to mean.

Alexander looked away first. The stars sizzled out and came together to form the sun’s first rays, peeking over the horizon. Together they sat and watched the sunrise, a strange boy with strange white hair and a broken man who hoped he could feel, and Alexander said, “I think I do.”


I don't know if I completely agree with Harry on the ending though. Assuming this is a stand-alone piece, (my opinion might change if it is a part of a collection), I thought while it wrapped the story up rather a bit smoothly, it did leave us some questions and thinking to do. I don't know if I would 100% say that it had too easy of an ending because as a reader, you tend to find key point that you relate to and question yourself, whether it be how the character goes on to do or what you yourself will do.

Sorry if this doesn't seem superrr clear, I'll elaborate on more if you want! But yeah, this was a fun read and I think it was written beautifully!

And as always...

Keep writing!






Thank you so much for your review!!! I%u2019m grinning (,:



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Fri Jan 14, 2022 3:43 pm
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HarryHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: Well..this was quite a piece here. It's the sort of short story that tend to linger in your mind for a bit after you've read it. There's just something somewhat eerie about this whole piece that I can't quite place.

Anyway let's get right to it,

It was nearly morning. The sky was still dark, darker than it had been the night before, or the night before that, or any of the nights that he had stood on this bridge. The sky is darkest before the dawn, of course, but Alexander Hart didn’t think his dawn was coming.

Here he was, again, on this bridge, and here he was, again, trying to think of a single reason why he shouldn’t step forward and let himself fall. He felt nothing—and nothing could ever fill that void inside him. Every post he saw said differently, every movie he watched, every book he read, but every person who knew him said that the void was unfillable. He didn’t want to keep pouring water into a pitcher riddled with holes, to keep filling a pit that could never be full. He could never be full.

It was nearly morning, but the stars were still out, taking advantage of their last moments in the sky, painting it in their dim and swirling light. Alexander often wondered how a city this big could have so many stars.


Well this is a really powerful opening here. I love the imagery of the area combining ever so neatly with the sense of what Alexander here is going through and the emotions and thoughts he is experiencing. It creates a piece that definitely catches your attention as a reader and makes you instantly ask so many questions on how things could have come to such a point.

They beckoned to him, telling him to join them, telling him to fly. He could fly, if only he stepped off this roof, couldn’t he? He could be with them. Maybe they’d even welcome him. But the lives he’d taken, the lives he’d taken—they were there too, weren’t they? There would be no welcome for him, but maybe there would be peace.

Asher, Alexander’s ward-of-sorts, was still horrified by Alexander’s attempts on his own life. It was funny, almost, if it didn’t hurt so damn bad. He didn’t want to hurt him, he really didn’t, but he couldn’t take it anymore.

He’d tried, again and again. Drowning, poisoning, a gun to the head. Why didn’t they ever work? Why did this one feel different?

Why did this one feel different?

“...Alex.”


Hmm, well now things just got even more interesting if that's even possible. It seems this is someone who has some sort of immortality situation going here judging by the descriptor on how he seemingly was unsuccessful in ending his life...which is pretty intriguing on its own, but we also have something that suggests this scene is somehow different and this is all making for a really solid opening at the moment.

Alexander heard a voice from behind him, and he started, falling forward. His heart leapt in his throat, and he couldn’t tell if it was from excitement or pure and utter terror. He wasn’t scared of dying; he wasn’t. Why was he scared?

He might have kept falling, if a hand hadn’t caught him just in time. “What the hell, Alex?!” the voice came again.

Youthful, scribbled messily in naiveté, strange white hair almost gray in the starlight. Asher.

Turning to face the boy, Alexander caught his breath and watched Asher adjust to his current situation: that is, process the fact that Alexander stood on the side of a bridge, on top of the barrier, lax and slumping with an ease that spoke of routine.


Okayy...well that's someone that was mentioned which does instantly make things very interesting because now it appears we've gotten ourselves into a position where there's an outside force of some sort that might be helping stop all of these moments...and at any rate it makes for quite the character entrance there.

“What are you doing? Why are you up here?”

Alexander shrugged. “It’s calm. I like the view.”

“Alex.” Asher met his gaze with a dare and a pool of sadness in his eyes.

Alexander merely turned to look to the east, where the sun was still comfortably settled below the horizon. He swung his legs out from under him and sat. Asher climbed the barrier and sat beside him.

“I thought you were joking, you know.”

“About dying?”

His shoulders slumped. “Yeah. I thought there was no way how someone who genuinely wanted to die could fail that many times.”

A pause, followed by Alexander’s quiet, “I guess I’m just unlucky.”


Well...that is definitely the sort of conversation that gets your attention as a reader. It seemed for a moment that this person was somehow lying about the whole enjoying the view situation, but it seems the other one does in fact know all about it and seems to have some sort of connection there.

Asher took a weighty breath and looked over the horizon and at the stars growing ever dimmer before it. He nudged Alexander's foot lightly with his own, and another silence stretched over them.

Why did he care? Alexander didn’t understand. He brought good into the world, or tried, but it didn’t matter to him. It shouldn’t have mattered to Asher either. “...do you think it will get better?”

Asher looked at him in surprise. “What?”

“Just… everything. Everything is nothing to me.” Alexander took a breath. “I mean, look around us. It’s beautiful, right? Really beautiful. But I can’t appreciate it, because some void inside me decided I can’t feel.”

“I think it will. Get better,” Asher said.

“How?”

“I mean, nothing is set in stone, right?”

Alexander snorted meanly.


Hmm...well at the moment some of what they clearly seem to know a lot about appears a bit vague...which is totally fine, its not vague to the point of impacting the piece negatively, but I thought I'd point it out...and there's also this nice sense of the dynamic these two seem to share, which I think makes things quite a bit more interesting here in this piece.

“I mean it! Life is fluid. It changes. Maybe someday you’ll feel, and maybe someday you won’t.”

He knew it was cruel to put all of this on Asher, but he couldn't find it in himself to stop asking. He needed to hear it from the one person he thought might, just might give him a good answer. “What’s the point if I can’t?”

“You’ve got logic. At least you can look at yourself and know, with that impeccable logic, that you have it good. You have people who care about you and a job where you help people. So many people. ”

Alexander hummed a question.

Asher sighed. “Yeah, you hurt people before, but you’re making up for it now. You’re paying back the debt you put into the world, and by now, I think, it’s paid. You put good into the world, and if you can’t feel it yourself, you can at least know that others are better off for you being alive, right?”

“...right.”


Hmm...well whatever this mysterious thing is that is causing this one to feel this way, it seems this Asher person knows quite a lot about it and Alexander despite feeling mildly guilty for it has in fact ended up using Asher to cope with all of this, although I can't sense any sort of emotion from Asher to suggest he feels bad about any of what's going. This is really shaping upto be a lovely conversation here, one that clearly highlights how well the two know each other.

Silences kept coming and going, ebbing and flowing. This one was loud, and it crashed and buzzed in Alexander’s ears like the river flowing beneath the bridge and beneath his and Asher’s feet. The same river he’d floated down so many times, hoping beyond hope that his lungs would collapse. Is that truly what he wanted? If he’d wanted to die, fully, completely, one would think he would be dead by now.

As if reading his train of thought, Asher asked, “Is death really what you want?”

“I don’t know.”

The boy hummed. “Do you think you, um…”

“I what?” Alexander turned to look at Asher again, taking in his deathly white hair and gentle eyes. His soul was a tiger, asleep. His soul was a desperate search for peace. His soul was Alexander’s in a sloppily painted frame.


Hmm....I feel like some sort of revelation might be coming there, judging from the uncertainty that we didn't see in any of the interactions upto this point. Considering that we do seem to have reached an ending here, I think that does make quite a bit of sense right here.

“I mean. I think it’s a need for something else, and death seems like the solution to you.” Asher spoke slowly, hesitantly, intentionally. “I, um… I thought of doing it myself, a while ago. Killing myself. Everything seemed so hopeless, and I wanted things to be different, and death was the easiest and most assured way that they would be. But I kept on, for some reason or another, and you found me, and you saved me.” He paused for a moment, gathering his thoughts. “I think death is appealing if you don’t like the way things are, but—it’s also definite. Once you’re dead, you’re dead. When you’re still alive, there’s possibility.” Here, he turned to gaze into Alexander’s eyes. “I think you want that possibility.”

Alexander looked away first. The stars sizzled out and came together to form the sun’s first rays, peeking over the horizon. Together they sat and watched the sunrise, a strange boy with strange white hair and a broken man who hoped he could feel, and Alexander said, “I think I do.”


Well...that ending...hmm I don't really know what to feel about it. It feels sort of like a rug getting pulled out under our feet almost, there's some sort of trend towards this person being talked out of this wish somewhat, or at least Asher making some connections, but then the end shuts it all down and sort of invalidates the entire rest of the conversation. All in all, this is quite the piece, I must say.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, I think this makes for a pretty solid piece here...Its a very interesting story, and the characters especially felt very real and powerful here. It leaves a bit of a lasting impression on you too.

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry






Thanks so much for your review!! Yes, the ending is definitely something I want to work on a bit more.



HarryHardy says...


You're Welcome!! :D




The simple truth is that authors like making people squirm. If this weren't the case, all novels would be filled completely with cute bunnies having birthday parties.
— Brandon Sanderson, Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians