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That night, Mia died. Her corporeal envelope had disappeared from the surface of the Earth forever. She would never tread the floor of her university again, her friends would never again hear her hysterical laughter, and her parents would never again marvel at her beaming smile. That night, her existence on this earth had come to an end. How they must have mourned her, who died so young. A tragedy.
A tragedy? Could she really call this incident tragic? Incredible, wonderful, completely absurd, perhaps, but tragic? But that, of course, her relatives could not know. For them, this event would forever remain the end of something. For her, it was the beginning of the most phenomenal adventure of her life.
That evening, she had a party planned with her friends Eva, Lydie, and Maxime. Like every Thursday, every student was out partying. Like every Thursday, they went around the bars and ended the night on Eva’s roof, which served as a clandestine terrace.
That evening, they were celebrating Lydie’s broken heart, with all the alcohol that this particular event heralded. The four of them were slumped on a small dilapidated sofa, each with a drink in their hands.
“Come on, stop being so depressed! You know what they say, there’s plenty of fish in the sea!” laughed Eva, sipping her glass of orange vodka.
“If I hear that stupid phrase ever again, I’m going to punch everyone,” Lydie burst out, waving her fist in front of her friend’s face.
Her reaction created general hilarity.
“And anyway, who invented that shitty proverb? Like, to whom is it supposed to apply? A guy in a harem? Damn, we’re not in cave ages anymore” She continued with her angry complaint, impervious to the giggles of her audience. “Anyway, fuck guys. It’s decided, I’m becoming a lesbian.”
“Shut up Lydia! I’m going to die of laughter if you continue” laughed Maxime.
“Here, Mia” she went on, ignoring her friend’s intervention and approaching the person concerned. “You’re pretty, you’re nice, you’re smart. Would you date me?”
Unease replaced the laughter on Mia’s face before she could react to her friend’s question. She stood up abruptly, pale, and staggered to the ledge.
“What, even you don’t want me? But uh, I was kidding! What are you doing, you’re not gonna kill yourself, huh?” panicked Lydie.
She wanted to answer “no, are you dumb or what?” but the only thing that could pass her lips was the contents of her stomach. The general hilarity increased once again, covering her sounds of regurgitation.
“Damn Lydie! You disgusted her so much that she threw up her guts, poor thing!” Eva yelled, knocking over her goblet and putting her arms on her stomach. “I’m laughing so much it makes my belly hurt!”
Mia sat up, wiping her mouth with her sleeve, completely unaware of the disgusting nature of what she had just done. Alcohol helped a lot on this point. She turned to her friends and sketched a mischievous smile, raising her eyebrows several times. The blonde was not known to assume her escapades with shame, but with humor. She didn’t care to humiliate herself like this if her misadventures could make her friends laugh out loud.
“Imagine if someone was walking down there?” she asked them.
“There’s worse things than getting a puddle of vomit on your head while walking... Or maybe not in fact,” thought Maxime, immediately looking serious. “Imagine for a moment if the poor guy falls by surprise and breaks his neck? You could go to jail Mia!”
“Mia Bayer, a twenty-year-old college student, incarcerated for killing a man by vomiting on him,” Lydie chimed in, waving her hands to accompany her statement. “It would make such huge headlines! Edition of the year!”
“And let me guess, you would cover the whole thing?” Mia replied, falsely annoyed.
Lydie was studying journalism and occupied her days between the University Gazette and the few articles she was allowed to publish in the local newspaper in their town. Eva was following the same course as her best friend, and Mia and Maxime were studying classics. They were all in their second year of study and had met all four during a party. Since then, they were inseparable.
“And why not? Am I not allowed to use a friend’s incredible story to propel my professional career? I wouldn’t use you with a clear conscience if you weren’t my friend, you know. Don’t forget I’m heartbroken, you could do that for me!”
“Wow, I’m incredibly lucky,” she replied, rolling her eyes and placing her hand over her heart, pretending to be touched by her words.
“Indeed! Come on, enough talk. Want a drink?”
Her proposal had not fallen on deaf ears. Maxime hastened to pick up the bottle of vodka, Lydie the bottle of orange juice, and Eva gathered their goblets. Mia watched them work, leaning against the edge of the roof with her elbows, still not feeling like coming back to sit on the couch, huddled together as they were on it. The warmth of their proximity would only accentuate her nausea.
They distributed their glass and Maxime handed one to Mia which she reluctantly picked up. She brought it to her lips and sniffed its contents. Orange juice without alcohol. With a nod in his direction, she thanked her friend for serving her a soft drink, although she doubted she could swallow anything at the moment.
“Am I dreaming or it’s starting to rain?” inquired Eva.
Her statement was quickly followed by a few drops of rain as if to confirm her words. The downpour that was coming would put an end to the evening. Mia wasn’t going to complain about it, she wasn’t the type to be able to continue having fun after vomiting the contents of her stomach.
She only wanted one thing: a shower. Or her bed. Or a shower and her bed. And maybe use her toothbrush a bit, so that she would no longer feel the harsh taste in her mouth and her post-regurgitation bad breath.
She took her phone out of her pocket to check the time.
“Anyway, it’s three o’clock. Maybe it’s time to go home. It’s not like we have class tomorrow,” she announced to Maxime. “I’ll let you clean our shit without me, I’m not feeling very well yet.”
They sighed in chorus and got down to their task. During this time, Mia took the opportunity to look again as best she could at her phone to check that she hadn’t received any messages. Her vision was still blurry from her drunkenness and the drops of water on the screen didn’t help.
“Can you please hustle around a bit, it’s raining heavily!” she grumbled, smiling sarcastically.
“You could help us if you really wanted us to be faster you know,” grumbled Maxime.
She shrugged and focused on her phone again, bringing her cup of orange juice closer to her mouth to try and take a few sips. Maybe she should have abstained. The sourness of the fruit only made her nausea worse, and she felt ready to regurgitate again.
Phone in one hand, cup in the other, she turned and rested her forearms on the concrete, awaiting the consequences of her action. And they soon arrived. As she vomited up her guts a second time, her body weakened. The grip on her phone loosened. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw it slip, but couldn’t do anything more. Oddly, the blow of emotion immediately made her nausea disappear to replace it with cold sweats.
“Guys... uh... my phone just fell off.”
Her three friends suddenly turned around, taken aback, and quickly approached the young woman to observe the crime scene.
“It’s here! On the small ledge! Do you think we can get it back?” Eva stirred.
Mia leaned back a little more on the concrete, her head hanging in the void, to try to locate her smartphone. Indeed, it had landed a short meter and a half further, on a ledge about ten centimeters wide. She took a deep breath, thanking her lucky star.
“Maxime, you’re going to hold my legs so I can try to grab it, okay?”
“Are you serious? Don’t you think it’s one hell of a shitty idea?”
“Do you have another one? It’ll be OK.”
He didn’t reply and nodded. They had all been drinking, after all, and their brains were not able to really realize the absurdity of the situation. When the blonde climbed onto the ledge, she also began to doubt her false good idea. Fortunately, her blurred vision prevented her from seeing the void that reigned below her.
She hesitated a few moments before Maxime put his hands on her bare ankles revealed by her light dress and gave him the starting signal. A furtive thought crossed her mind. It would still be stupid to die like that, wouldn’t it? Nevertheless, under the influence of the alcohol ingested, Mia once again ignored the voice of her reason which had mixed with her survival instinct in an attempt to warn her of the danger. She let herself fall into space, slowly, reaching out to grab her phone.
“Hurry please, my hands are slipping and I’m not in my best shape!”
“I’m doing what I can!”
She fumbled for a few moments, not seeing much without light, and her hand finally closed on her device.
“Got it! Lift me up!”
Clearly, she should have thought three times before jumping into the void. She wasn’t very heavy, but they had been drinking and the rain was making her skin slippery. Her friend’s arms trembled with the effort to support the weight of her body hanging like this, threatening at any moment to let go. Anxiety quickly took root in her brain as she felt Maxime’s hands slip.
“Help me! Quickly!” he spoke to the two other girls who were frozen behind the young man.
Lydie did not react, paralyzed by the situation. Eva hastened to grab the end of her dress as if that would save her. Unfortunately, Maxime was going to let go. She knew it. It was only a matter of seconds.
When the young man’s grip clung only to her sandals, she realized that it was already too late. They yielded, leaving her barefoot when she was about to die by crashing a few meters below. A piece of her dress was also torn in her fall, the piece of fabric resting in the hand of a distraught Eva who watched the scene with dread.
Really? You’re going to die and the only thing that comes to mind is that you’re going to be found without shoes, your dress torn, and probably your face crushed in your vomit below? Where is my life flashing before my eyes? said the blonde to herself.
She closed her eyelids so tightly that her eyes felt like they were sinking into their sockets. She didn’t want to see the ground getting any closer. The fall lasted only a few seconds. The last seconds of her life on Earth. And Mia passed them feeling like throwing up. Her death was worthy of a Darwin Award.