Don't Jump

I clasped my hands together, my fingers intertwining one another. My thumbs tapped together impatiently as I sat in the waiting room chair. Fear gripped me on all sides with lack of knowledge of what happened and how. All I remembered was getting a call on my cell phone that Gustav was in the hospital, and not much else. I rushed over, only to be held captive in the lobby while my best friend may or may not live through the night.

The nearby TV was tuned in to a news station, and I felt like I had a rock in my stomach when they mentioned "Gustav Schafer from Tokio Hotel." A shiver ran down my spine when I saw footage of the aftermath of what looked like a fatal accident; a trolley had T-boned a car that I quickly recognized as Gustav's, and several other damaged cars lay sprawled around it.

I turned my head toward the hall, and I saw my friend walking out of it with no problem. When he approached me, I was relieved to notice the only injuries he received were occasional cuts and bruises. But when I looked into Gustav's eyes, I wondered if all might not be alright after all. There was always a warm glow in the blond man's eyes that brightened when he smiled, but now his eyes were dull and depressed.

"Hey, man," I greeted. "How are you feeling?"

"Fine," Gustav mumbled.

"You don't sound fine," I pointed out.

"Look, Georg," he muttered, "I've had a rough day. I just wanna go home."

"Alright." I figured the ordeal must have just shaken the blond man; he'd be back to his old self in no time.

On top of the roof

The air is so cold and so calm

I say your name in silence

You don't want to hear it right now

Things didn't go back to normal as fast as I expected them to. Gustav slipped deeper and deeper into depression as the days went on, consumed with guilt for what happened. Every night he would tell me that the car accident was his fault, and I would lay an arm over my friend's shoulders when his eyes grew sparkly with tears.

The eyes of the city

Are counting the tears falling down

Each one a promise

Of everything you never found

I knew something was horribly wrong the night that Gustav didn't come to me and tell me what was bothering him. He retreated to his room right after dinner, and for some reason I had a bad feeling about it. I crept over to his door; all was quiet. Slowly I turned the handle and opened the door, which emitted a whiny squeak as it eased open. When I saw the blond man, my heart dropped like an anvil. He had a huge knife raised directly over his wrist, just about to go in for the kill. I screamed in fright as I bolted across the room, pleading my friend to stop.

I scream into the night for you

Don't make it true, don't jump

The lights will not guide you through

They're deceiving you, don't jump

Don't let memories go of me and you

The world is down there out of view

"Gustav! Nein!"

I grabbed the knife at a blinding speed and flung it across the room. After banging against the wall, it bounced off and onto the ground with a loud thud. Tears spilled down my face, and I threw my arms around my suicidal friend.

"Bitte, Gustav," I pleaded. "Don't do this…"

Please don't jump…

I glanced out the window one morning over my coffee mug. It was two days after New Year's, and already I felt the new changes preparing to come into place. Snow fluttered gently from the grey sky, touching down on the white blanket that covered over everything in unforgiving imprisonment. It was beautiful, unlike anything I had ever seen before. I only broke away from it when I heard Gustav enter the room, an uneasy look plastered on his face. He had always been depressed since the car accident, but there seemed to be something more urgent bothering my friend.

You open your eyes

But you can't remember what for

The snow falls quietly

You just can't feel it no more

"Gustav, is something wrong?" I asked.

"Ugh, my stomach hurts," he complained, grasping his right side as he sat down.

"Do you…feel sick?" I asked.

"No," Gustav insisted. "It just really stings in my lower right side."

"Maybe you should see a doctor," I suggested.

"No, it's fine," he said quickly. "I'll just make myself some hot tea."

I shrugged it off and looked back at the fluttering snow, but I couldn't help feeling worried about my friend. My body filled with apprehension whenever I looked at him now; I never knew if he was going to commit suicide or break down crying in front of me. My throat hurt and tears came to my eyes when these things happened; Gustav used to be the funniest and most playful guy in our band. But ever since his car wreck two months prior, he had sealed himself away in his own little world. He almost never talked, and his face was usually expressionless. His eyes were so dull they might as well turn grey.

So why did I keep fighting for Gustav? If he wasn't the same person I had come to know, what was the point in pretending like nothing had happened? I knew why: I would give my life to see my best friend again, the same carefree person whose normal everyday antics somehow touched my heart.

Mocking scenes play in my head every second of every day: Gustav jumping up and down in anticipation before a show, drumsticks in hand; Gustav singing "Hakuna Matata" with Bill on our private jet; Gustav juggling glass objects for his own amusement when we stayed in hotels; Gustav nodding off during interviews, causing all of us to laugh. But what I missed most about my friend was his smile. As stupid and gay as it sounded, I missed when his lips curled slightly into his signature shy smile that I and several fangirls adored. What I would give to see him happy again…

Although the clouds blocked off the sky, it still managed to get darker and dim into an evening as the snow glistened in yellow pools off the streetlights outside. All was quiet and peaceful, and the trees brushed to the side in the breeze as if hushing the world into a relaxing silence.

Suddenly, the silence was broken when I heard a bellow coming from Gustav's room. He sounded so much in pain; my heart was hammering violently as I burst through his door.

"Gustav! What's wrong?" I demanded.

My blond friend lay curled on his bed, grabbing his right side like he was trying to squeeze out the pain. "Georg! It hurts…so bad…"

"That's it!" I barked as I pulled my friend off the bed. "I'm taking you to the hospital!"

My heart felt heavy as I started to hyperventilate. There was a ton of traffic on the road, and the snow didn't make things easier. I shoved my hand into the horn every few seconds and sped past startled cars, swerving and darting through lanes of angry drivers screaming at me and giving me rude hand gestures.

After what felt like an eternity, I finally made it to the ER. I helped the blond man out of the car and hoisted him up, then rushed through the doors. I wasted no time trying to find a nurse, and it wasn't that difficult; Gustav was screaming loud enough to attract attention from everywhere in the hospital. They whisked my friend away for some tests, and I felt partially relaxed. But I couldn't feel fully at ease; what if they couldn't help him in time?

No, I told myself. I can't give up now. Not after all I had done to keep Gustav alive, even in this withdrawn state.

I sat quietly in the waiting room until a nurse approached me. "Are you Georg?"

"Yes," I replied.

"I have some grim news regarding Gustav."

Panic struck me like a bolt of lightning. "Is he going to be okay?"

"It turns out he ruptured his appendix," she replied. "He has been taken into emergency surgery to get it removed."

Darkness fell over me. I felt life rushing past me in a blinding fury. Everything suddenly felt so unreal; I might never see my friend again. I knew a ruptured appendix could never be taken lightly, and Gustav had been suffering from it all day. It was only a matter of time before his body gave in.

Despite my worry, I was able to leave the hospital and go home for the night. I wasn't expecting to get any sleep, but it was much easier to think when I wasn't in a waiting room full of people.

It felt like another planet when I finally got back to the house. Everything was the same, but the atmosphere had changed. Ironically, it felt as if the tension had been lifted. Everything was curiously peaceful inside the quiet house, but inner thoughts made me sick to my stomach. I didn't care if Gustav came back into this house sicker than before, withdrawing to his silent, painful world—I just wanted him to return.

Relief cleansed every bone in my body when I got the call three days later—Gustav had survived surgery and was being released from the hospital. But I mentally prepared myself for the worst; he might become more withdrawn than he already was.

And he did. When I brought my friend back from the hospital, I found he was not eating; he would merely look at his food with a disgusted expression. I wanted more than anything to believe Gustav when he said it was just because his stomach hurt from the surgery, but we both knew he would not be eating for a while. I felt a pang of regret as reality started to hit; Gustav may never be his old self again. Why couldn't things go back to the way they were? Why was my friend taking all of this so hard? Why couldn't he learn to let go?

Somewhere up there

You lost yourself in your pain

You dream of the end

To start all over again

I awoke in the middle of the night with a bad feeling in my stomach. At first I wondered if it was something I ate, but the pain spread to the point where my entire body was tingling. Something was wrong, and there could be only one culprit: Gustav.

I wasted no time; I rushed out of my room and into Gustav's. A dim light emanated from his bedside table, and something white shined in his hands. My friend looked at me like a deer caught in headlights, and one glance at the orange tube in his opposite hand told me that the white things were sleeping pills.

My heart dropped; I had just walked in on Gustav attempting suicide—for the second time. I leapt onto my friend's bed and grabbed the tiny white pills from his hands; there must have been about twenty of them. Without thinking, I flung them all onto the carpet and hugged Gustav, tears streaming down my face and onto his shirt.

I scream into the night for you

Don't make it true, don't jump

The lights will not guide you through

They're deceiving you, don't jump

Don't let memories go of me and you

The world is down there out of view

Please don't jump, don't jump

"Why?" I demanded as tears continued to soak my face. "Why do you do this?"

"What's the point?" Gustav growled. "The world wants me gone, but it keeps failing at killing me. Why not do it a favor?"

"The world doesn't want you gone, Gustav," I insisted. "I still want you here."

"Then why did I get into a huge car wreck?" he asked. "Furthermore, just a few days ago I ruptured my appendix. The doctors told me if I had gotten there just a bit later, I could have died. It's like I'm supposed to be dead, but humankind is preventing me from dying!"

I shook my head in disbelief at my friend's words.

I don't know how long

I can hold you so strong

I don't know how long…

"Gustav." I leaned in close so he knew I was being serious. "If you were bound to die, you would've by now. Please, don't act this way. You have so much to live for; you're in a famous band, surrounded by friends who really like you."

Gustav said nothing, so I continued. "If you just try to accept what has happened and move on, I promise you can be happy again. And I can help you."

My friend looked up at me, his eyes gleaming with unspoken desperation.

Just take my hand

Give it a chance

Don't jump

Months passed, and Gustav seemed to improve. He was a lot happier, striding alongside me whenever we went out for the night. We went shopping more often than not; sometimes I bought some new drumsticks for Gustav or new bass strings for myself, but we usually got video games for our Xbox.

I was impressed by my friend's progress; the color and twinkle in his eyes shined brightly once again, and that heartwarming smile had returned to his face.

Little did I prepare for the realization that the ordeal wasn't over yet, and that everything would soon fall apart. The disaster struck one night after Gustav decided to kick back and go to a bar. I was feeling tired, so I just decided to stay home and let my friend have fun.

About an hour after he left, I got a phone call from the hospital. When they spelled out the news to me, my heart shattered into a million tiny fragments, ricocheting off my ribs and piercing my lungs. My guidance, my comfort, my help had been for nothing. They told me that Gustav had been rushed to the ER after an intoxicated man picked a fight with him and smashed two beer bottles over his head, lacerating his scalp and winding him up with stitches.

With dread weighing me down, I entered the hospital lobby the next morning to see a couple agitated nurses pacing around.

"Excuse me," I told one of them. "I'm here to pick up Gustav."

"I'm sorry sir," the nurse said, slightly panicked. "Gustav is nowhere to be found. We think he might have escaped."

Whatever panic was still hiding in the shadows was suddenly unleashed like a wildfire, and without thinking I bolted for the exit.

I just kept running. I didn't know where to or why, but I soon found my feet carrying me toward a nearby river. I soon saw the reason: Gustav was standing on the edge of a bridge, as if about to jump. The grayish blue water was about fifty feet below, certainly enough to kill someone.

Heart racing a mile a second, I sprinted faster than my own two legs have ever carried me before. I considered it a miracle that I was able to catch up to my friend before he took the plunge.

"Gustav!" I screamed. When I got over to him, it was obvious he was back to his suicidal self. He took one look at me and gave me a dark glare; it was scarier than I had ever experienced in my life, and the blood-red scars upon his head made him look like an evil villain. But I wasn't about to give up and let him jump. "Please, Gustav, don't do this." Out of sheer desperation, I started singing the lyrics to a song that our band had written about a year before.

I scream into the night for you

Don't make it true, don't jump

The lights will not guide you through

They're deceiving you, don't jump

Don't let memories go of me and you

The world is down there out of view

My friend only seemed to get aggravated. "You just don't get it! You don't know what I've suffered through since the car accident in November!"

"Gustav, I helped you through that," I reminded him. "And I can help you through this."

His eyebrows sunk lower, and a tear trickled down his cheek. A dreadful feeling came over me; something a bit like regret, but I wasn't too sure. It was some realization that he was suffering more than I could ever imagine. It had to be horrible for someone like Gustav to attempt suicide three times.

Without warning, Gustav lunged toward the edge. I gasped, shoving him back onto the concrete. But in doing so, my foot slipped over the ledge and I started hurtling downward. Gustav shouted in disbelief, but instinctively I managed to grab onto a beam about ten feet down. Unfortunately, my massive muscle weight was too much for my arms, and I felt myself slipping.

"Gustav!" I shouted. "Please don't give up; there's a better solution than suicide. Find your other friends and seek comfort in them. Maybe one of them can do a better job than I did."

"No…" Gustav shook his head, and his face gleamed with tears. "Georg, please…"

I felt like crying myself; this is not what my poor friend needed after so much trauma. But there was no stopping it; my arms slid off the beam till I was hanging on by my fingers.

"Don't give up, Gustav," I pleaded. "Whether you know it or not, there are people out there that need you. Don't let me die in vain, Gustav! No matter how many obstacles you face, just keep going!"

My fingers gave out, and I started plunging toward the river below. For my last few heartbeats, I found that the only thing I could think about was the sheer hope that Gustav would fulfill my final request. With my friend's image plastered in my mind, I shut my eyes tight and braced myself for the impact as I plummeted closer and closer to the grey-blue wall of my fate.

Please don't jump, don't jump

And if all that can't hold you back

Then I'll jump for you…