Everyone in our group brought a couple of items. (I brought a lollipop and a tube of hand cream.) I was the one to lucky dip and pick out the…toy fire-truck. So that's what we wrote about!
"Lady, stay calm, okay?"
She started, her eyes glazed. She took a tiny step forward, and my heart froze.
"Ma’am, just hold tight to the gutter. I'll have you down in a second."
As I absorbed the petite, dark haired woman, precariously swaying as she clutched the guttering above her head, I wondered, as I always did at these times, what circumstances could have driven her to take this step. She was young, pretty. What the hell had gone so wrong in her life?
"Ma'am, my name is Dave. What's yours?" I tried my best, friendly fireman smile.
It seemed to work, for she swallowed and smiled tentatively back. "Amy."
We'd got the 000 call ten minutes ago. A woman on the ledge, four storeys up. The ladder just made it, and there I was, my head and shoulders peaking over the edge. The guys on the ground were ready to catch her. But all my training told me to take this slow. So much could go wrong.
"Hi Amy." I grinned again, my heart pounding in my chest, my mouth dry.
"Hi Dave," she whispered, again with a tiny smile. Her lovely face was pale, her eyes wide, terrified.
"Amy," I said, forcing myself to sound calm, "I want you to stay where you are and I'll lift myself up onto the ledge, okay?"
Amy nodded, opened her mouth to speak, but then glanced down into the darkness below. In the fluorescent light above her head, she paled even more. Sweet Jesus, she was about to faint.
I leapt up onto the ledge. Grabbed her around the waist, and dragged her slim body up against mine. She clutched onto me, as I pulled her toward her open window. A second later, she was safe inside her apartment.
I breathed in heartfelt relief.
Amy smiled up at me, her face still deathly pale, her eyes still wide, shocked. "Thank you, Dave." She took a huge breath.
Why the hell had she done this to herself? "Amy, we can help you. You don't have to let things get so bad that you feel you have to…"
Her brows pleated in confusion. "…to?"
"To, er, you know, end it all."
Amy laughed, her cheeks reddening. "Oh, I wasn't going to kill myself. I wanted the balloon that floated out the window."