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On the Edge

L’appel du vide

L’appel du vide is French and translates to “Call of the Void”.  It is the unexplainable urge to jump when standing on the edge of a cliff, or tall height.  It can be considered a form of self-destructive ideation, or a protective instinct to let the brain play out what the body should not.  It’s definition has been expanded to describe responding mentally to the call of the siren song– whether that means the desire to reach into a fire, drive into a wall, or walk into the eye of the storm.

He struggles to remember the early days, the good times. The times when drinking was fun, sociable, relaxing. The days when he and his friends met at the bar after work for a few drinks, to laugh and joke and relieve the stress of the day.

He can’t quite remember those days.

All he has now are memories of darkness. Hazy, muddled memories of fights with his friends. Vague recollections of arguments with his wife. The knowledge that he’d swapped his beautiful house and family for a tiny, grotty bedsit. A dank, dark little room to match his mood.

He remembers two days when he hadn’t drunk, when he’d tried to stay off the booze so he could see his kids. Two horrific days of misery until the siren’s song of alcohol drew him inexorably back.

His memory vaguely recalls a time when he had friends, friends he could rely on, but now his friends could no longer rely on him and they’d done their best but now they were gone. He’d pushed them away because they didn’t understand, couldn’t understand what he was going through. Those days feel like a dream, a different life.

Darkness, emptiness, helplessness, shame. Home, wife, kids, friends, job, self respect all gone.

And now his mind drags itself back to the present, as he stands on the cliff. He can’t go on like this, it has to end. He stands on the edge of the cliff, his mind remarkably clear, and stares out into the void.

On The Cliff

  1. August 17, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    A powerful piece with a painful amount of resonance in this household.


    • August 17, 2013 at 5:39 pm

      A painful amount of resonance in this household too.


  2. August 19, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Wow. This is amazingly powerful. A beautiful description of a terrifying circumstance.


  3. August 19, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Sad one this, Dr Ali.


    • August 19, 2013 at 4:22 pm

      I was trying to think of what to write for this Prompts for the Promptless and then I thought of the old adage “write what you know”.


  4. August 21, 2013 at 5:23 am

    Holy Sh**!
    I will pre-order your first novel.


    • August 21, 2013 at 5:32 am

      Thanks – I’d better get on with writing it then!
      I might get someone else to do the illustrations though 🙂


  5. August 21, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    I haven’t read enough of your blog to know if you write from experience or if you’re just really good at imagining that awful pull known as addiction
    Absolutely wonderful writing, regardless!


    • August 21, 2013 at 9:08 pm

      Thank you!
      I’m writing from experience, though that’s over ten years behind me now and I used a fair amount of poetic licence in the actual events in the story (it was technically fiction after all!). I still remember how it felt, however – enough that writing the post was a bit upsetting. I’ve made some small mention here and there but I’ve never actually dedicated any posts to it.

      Thanks for the follow – coincidentally I have your blog open in my browser – I had a look after a pingback and thought I’d check it out properly tomorrow (it’s bedtime here, but I did enjoy your “Carefree” post!).


      • August 22, 2013 at 1:02 pm

        Why thank you! I saw you left a comment and I appreciate it.
        Looking forward to following you! 🙂


  1. August 17, 2013 at 5:14 pm
  2. August 17, 2013 at 5:16 pm
  3. August 21, 2013 at 2:35 pm

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