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Bridge Encounter

Posted on: March 7, 2013

Bridge Encounter

Last week I was standing on a bridge in the middle of nowhere. Nobody was around, and I was gazing into the water, contemplating how it would be to just jump and drown (horribly uncomfortable, I’m sure, and yet cheesily poetic), and I started crying, and even more cheesily I let the tears drop into the water, and be carried off downstream, and I was thinking that that would be the journey my body would make, flowing through cities big and small, and marshes and fields and long non-descript bits that are so bland that if I hadn’t been already dead I would have died of boredom – which by the way was only for the sake of dramatization, since even if it kept floating and avoided washing ashore, my body would just have ended up caught in the dam some ten kilometers downstream, clogging the turbines and causing a temporary stop in the production of electric power – what an un-ecological way to go.

Anyway – there I was, looking all forlorn, when I realised that there was someone else there, at the foot of the bridge. A man.
I tried (too late, I’m sure) to reacquire a bit of dignity, and waited for him to cross the bridge. He wouldn’t go on. I waited. He waited. Finally I turned to have a good look at him to see what the [CENSORED] was keeping him, and I saw that he was an old man, just standing there looking all nervous and staring at me with panicked eyes.
At first I thought he was feeling unwell and needed help, but he didn’t call out or make any signal. He also didn’t seem to want to show me what he had that I do not have, which was my second guess as to his intentions.

Then it dawned on me.

I think he thought I was actually going to jump there and then! Not sure what he was planning to do in that case. Calling for help would have been no use. Perhaps he was going to try and save me?? That would explain why he stayed at the foot of the bridge – he would have had access to the river without having to jump from high above, and perhaps there is a rescue boat there? I must check next time.

I waited some more, and when it was apparent that he was not going to go anywhere, I swung on my bike and started towards home, that means in his direction. Only then he started finally crossing the bridge.

It was so awkward, passing him by. Was I supposed to acknowledge him somehow? What if he had not stopped because of me at all, but because lost in admiration at the sight of an agile tit-tyrant? (This is an actual bird, by the way, I haven’t made it up. You wouldn’t normally find it in these parts, but that would explain the man’s wonder). So should I have thanked him? Reassured him? Asked him not to meddle?

I nodded to my perhaps would-have-been life-saver and murmured, “Hello.”

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