Short Story

The Silent Bridge

            The streets were different after midnight. Even with the street lights brightening around the area it was still hard to see where you’re going. There were no cars, no motorcycles, or anybody, only silence surrounded the area in this cold tense air. I passed the silent street, and now I’m standing in the bridge. A long bridge not far from my house, and quite noticed by the people around the area. The bridge appeared on the news, where two people decided to end their lives here by jumping off this bridge. This time there will be a third.

            I observe to my surroundings to see if there were anyone near me. There was no one, knowing this I kneel down, I clutched both my hands together, and place it on my forehead. I whisper to God, begged for forgiveness for what I would do next. I prayed for the wellbeing of my mom, hoping she will forgive, and forget me. Thinking about my mom usually made me tear a little, but I’ve passed through that. There were only cold and cruel memories, which I intend to erase all.

“Amen”

I climbed up, and stood at the barricade. I held on a lamppost to keep my balance straight. Even when wearing a jacket, the cold was unbearable. I felt the wind breeze in my face. I glance down to see a river, probably a 50 feet drop, with a strong river current. Through my perspective I can relate why three people ended their lives here. The impact would’ve been fast, and hopefully less painful. My heart beat fast. I got nervous, but not hesitance. I wanted this, because it was the only way too escape. I closed my eyes shut, and I took a deep breath. Gently I let go of the lamppost, and I was just one step away from ending it all.

“Hey!”

My eyes quickly opened when I heard a voice calling. I got startled and almost lost my balance, but I manage griped on the lamppost as hard as I can to get a steady balance. I turn to my right shoulder, and beside me was a girl holding a bouquet flowers in her hand.

“What are you doing?” She asked me with an innocent look on her face.

My tongue got tied, and I couldn’t speak. For a moment I swore I was all alone in this bridge. I wasn’t aware of footsteps or any other sound accept mine. She appeared out of nowhere like a ghost, or she could be a ghost, and I’m already dead.

“Are you going to jump?” She asked.

“Well… eh… Y-yes” I answered with slight unsecured. I couldn’t find a better word to respond her. I wanted to lie, but nothing came out of my head. Telling the truth was the first thing appeared right in my head.

The girl walk near the barricade, and stared down at the river. “But isn’t this too high?” she Asks. “It’s very dangerous. You can get hurt, or even worse”

“Yes. I know.” My intention in the first place was to get ‘worse’. It’s obvious what I was going to do, but she seemed worried at me as if she truly care.

I jumped right back to the cross side, since I wasn’t comfortable at her staring at me. “S-so… what now?” I asked her. “Are you going to stop me, or Call the police?” My eyes rolled down to see my wrist watch. The short arrow had passed two o clock. I was sure no one would come to the bridge pass the middle of the night, especially a girl all alone.

 “No,” She replied. She sat down at the barricade, and swings her leg back at forth. “If you want to jump. I won’t stop you, but I’ll warn you. If you jump, you’ll miss out on a lot of fun”

“Fun? No, not my life” I replied. “I hate my life. Every day I woke up listening to them, push me around, and beat me up. What make­s you think my life would get better afterward?”

“I don’t.” quickly she replied. “But don’t you wonder what will happen in the future? I mean, imagine all the great things that’ll happen”

“Great things… but also bad things, right? So to answer your question, ‘no’ I don’t. I’m not interested” Listening to myself makes me sick.  I taught to myself, I might as well jump out the bridge right now. She’s trying to help me, and I responded to her like I don’t care at all. Deep down I really appreciated her help, but I’ve been through enough. My mind was stubborn, and my action is set.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I know what you’re trying to do, and I truly appreciate it. But I can’t be persuaded by you telling me this false hopes. You either call the police, or I’ll jump”

“What was your life like?” The girl asks.

I didn’t want to answer. It was something I’m too embarrassed to tell to anyone. But since it’ll probably be my last conversation with anybody, I might as well tell her everything.

“I don’t know where to start,” I said to her, as I sat on the barricade beside her. “In fact, I don’t even know when my life turn into this hell hole. I went to school, and every day they just push me around. My mom is crippled, you see. They usually called her an ‘old hag’. Of course I got mad. One day, I got caught crying at the restroom, and they call me names. During lunch time, they spit on my food, and pored milk all over me. I once tried to fight back, but got beaten to a pulp and they called me weak afterward. I couldn’t fight them. No matter how mad I was, I Couldn’t do anything. I was alone and no one wanted to help me. It’s not fair.” For a moment, I stopped.

I didn’t want to say anything else, as they reminded me like flashes of horror inside my head. The girl didn’t say anything. I was embarrass to show my face at her. When I opened my eyes, the girl handed me a napkin.

“Here, dry your eyes” She said

I got caught up in the stories and the horrible memories, I didn’t realize I was crying. I grabbed her napkin and wiped the tears off my face.  “I’m sorry, I- I guess I got a little carried away.” My eyes were now probably red because of the tears. I don’t know if the girl realize it though as to how dark it is here, my head was still gazing at the ground, still embarrassed to show my face to her.

“It’s okay to cry,” She said. “Life is hard. I got bullied all the time at school too. But I consider myself the lucky ones. I had a friend. My only best friend actually. Both of us were called freaks all the time. But we didn’t care thou. As long as we were together, we promised to each other to always be happy together,” She pauses for a moment. “Or so I taught”

There’s silence surround us. She stopped talking, but the story hasn’t end yet. Something happened to her, and my attention got caught of her last sentence. “What happen?” I finally asked her.

She jumped out from her seat. She turns around, leaning at the barricade and stare at the river. “She’s sleeping in this river”

I didn’t say anything to her. I couldn’t imagine someone losing someone dear to them. I recall the news about this bridge, trying to remember about the two people who jumped in this river.  Was her friend one of the two who jumped? I didn’t dare to ask her.

“I’m so sorry” I said with condolence.

“The mocking didn’t stop. In fact it got worse. But the worst part is I didn’t even get to say goodbye to her. She helped me through my tough times, but I couldn’t do the same for her. I wanted to help her, I want to be by her side when she needed help most. But now it’s too late. She’s with God now”

She stopped, perhaps couldn’t bare the memories like I did.

“I hope that promise in the book, where good people always goes to heaven are true. She deserves to go to heaven. Death is such a scary thing. Don’t you think?”

“Yeah. Very scary” I replied her. I could see her trying to hold her tears back. The happy and positive girl disappeared.  I notice the flowers she was holding. They were roses, white and light red, with a white ribbon attach at the bottom.

“Those flowers, are they for her?” I asked her. I wanted to change the conversation, hoping to change the mood.

“Yes, they are”

“But why did you visited her in this time of the night. I mean of course by night when no one is around, but its–” I stopped to see what time it was on my watch. “2:45 Am. Why at this time so late?”

“So no one would see, what I would do next”

What she said, made me unsettle. What happen next was her climbing up, and stood at the barricade. I jumped out from sitting at the barricade, “What are you doing?” I asked with my voice at a higher pitch.

“I’m going to join her in this river. I think it’s time to greet God.”

I got shivers, my legs felt weak, and shaking nonstop. I was at the point of fear. “What do you mean join her?” I shouted “What about all you said before? About missing all the fun things that waits in the future? What happen to that?” the sound of my voice might’ve been heard from people even from a long distance, but at this point I didn’t care how loud I was.

“What about you?” She asks. “Weren’t you going to jump as well? I didn’t stop you, so what gives you the rights to stop me?’  She got me right there. I did try to jump, but I wasn’t prepared to see anybody jumped in front of me. Was this the reaction the girl had to go through when she saw me standing at the barricade? My heart beat fast, and I don’t know what to say to her. I was afraid what I would say next would just make things worse.

Then I heard a giggle. The giggle turn into laughter.

“I’m just kidding.” She said to me with her warm smile back.

She jumped back to the sideway. She stared at me with her bright smiling face.

I looked daze, like a confused man I was. “Wha—“

“Yes, I’m just here just to visit. Nothing more, and nothing less.” She said.

I fell to the ground side back first in relief. My heart rested from beating uncontrollably. “Are you crazy!?” I shouted. “You can’t just joke around like that. What– Are you trying to give me a heart attack?” I couldn’t control myself on lowering my voice. She didn’t seemed sorry though, she was still laughing, but not as loud as before.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” She said to me while still laughing. But I wasn’t mad, but instead felt relief it was only a joke. “Oh… God, you should’ve seen your face. You were like, ‘but what about what you said, ahhh, nooo, don’t jump’ ” She tries to mimic my expression as well. Not a good one, but she was trying to mock me.

“Oh, shut up” I said, slight gently pushing her arm. I couldn’t stay furious at her. The way she smile and laughed again. I missed that side of her, and it was far better than her sad side. When she finally stopped laughing, for a minute there was a silence in the bridge but the cold tense in the air were gone.

“Thank you” She said.

“Thank you? For what?”

“For being here, and accompanying me here. To tell you the truth I haven’t had this much fun in a long-long time. It’s strange, I don’t even know your name yet.” She was right, we haven’t got to properly introduce to each other. But it didn’t bother me, because talking to her was also one of the best things that had happened to me in a long time.

“It’s not strange at all,” I replied to her. “It’s not every day I get to meet someone trying to give me a heart attack. So thank you, I really needed that”

She giggled.

“Hey, look. I know things may get difficult, and I can’t promise you things will get better. There will come a time when you just want to give up, but when it happen, just remember, you’re not alone. There are many who are struggling like you and me. But things will get better.  Just remember your reasons to live”

“Reason why I live?” I asked her.

“Yes. You know, your dream, or purpose in life. Your parent’s maybe, or your sibling. For me they’re my reasons to live. Sometimes when I start thinking about jumping off this bridge, I always think about them. I would be horrified to see their reactions when they found out I was dead because of such a selfish thing. I’m not living only for myself, but also for them”

“So what’s yours?”

“What?”

“What’s your reason to live?”

“Um… Well…” I stopped to think at first. But there was one person that pop in my head first “My mom. Even though people call her name, I still love her. She’s kind to me, and love me. I love her too.”

“See…” She stopped me before I could finish my sentence. “Now, I want you to remember her at your hardest times. When you’re sad, or lonely, always remember her, and how she love you. And, if that’s not enough, you can add me to your list as well.”

I looked at her with a smile on my face. Slightly I nodded, giving her like a promise I will remember her.

She stood up, walk to the barricade and dropped her flower to the river. She closed her eyes, and says “Rest in peace Serra”

She walk to me “I think I’ll be going now,” She said. “Thank you again for tonight. I really had a fun time talking to you. I don’t know what you’re going to do next, but please reconsider it. I hope to see you again”

“Yeah. Me too”

I didn’t say anything to her afterward, all I did was smile at her and wave. She waved goodbye, and walk away to the darkness.

 I’m alone again at the bridge now. I stood there for about ten seconds, wondering what to do next. Once again, I gaze at the river, and wonder. If I do this, will I escape from all those pain memories?

I kept walking further away from the bridge, and in my head all I’m hoping is that the boy had reconsider his choice. The last thing I want to see is the news saying investigators found a dead body at the river. I hoped what I say to him convince him to change his mind. I could have force him to stop, but it would make things worse for him. I did what I could.

“Hey!”

I heard a familiar voice. I turned around to see the man, running towards me. I was surprise and at the same time relief. He stopped right in front of me, tired, and trying to catch his breath.

“I’ve been thinking about what you said,” He said to me, while still catching his breath. “About the great things that awaits me in the future. You’re right.”

Hearing those words gave me more relief than I have ever been.

“I’m glad to hear” I replied to him. His face seemed happier than before. There were no life before the bridge, but now he had a bright smile on his face.

“So, what are you going to do now?”  I asked him.

He stops awhile and think, “I don’t know,” He replied. “To tell you the truth, I didn’t expect to be here right now”

That is true though, and I don’t blame him. I didn’t think that trough when I ask him. “Well it’s late.” I replied. “You can talk about plans tomorrow. Let’s just go for home now.”

“Do you want me to accompany you home?”

“What? Oh, no. Please don’t trouble yourself”

“No, it’s not troubling at all. Besides it’s almost 3 AM, and it’s not save for a girl to be all alone”

“Well, that is true”

“Let me accompany you. You know, if you don’t mind that is”

“Not at all. It’ll be boring anyway being alone”

The night was defiantly not what I had in plan. I was now accompanied home by a stranger I just met. The boy without him realizing it, saved my life. It’s weird what the future had in store for me.  Forgive me Serra, I guess you’ll just have to wait for me a little bit longer. It’s not my time yet to meet you and God yet.

“Hey, I almost forgot,” The boy said. “I haven’t catch your name yet?”

“Amy” I replied. “It’s Amy”

“Amy, huh. I’m Andy. It’s nice to meet you”