(Writing Prompt- I used to think…)
I used to think that my life was one big adventure. That nothing could derail the wild carefree ride I was on. Single, free and happy was my motto.
But then my world came crashing down around my ears. My life felt like a burned out house, and I was standing in the smoldering ashes of it, shell shocked and completely alone.
A simple walk down down a simple lane was all I wanted that night. To catch some fresh air after three weeks of continuous travel. My legs needed a good stretch too. The night was warm, the moon was full, and I was completely alone. Just how I liked it.
Until I reached the bridge.
The old wooden one lane bridge looked bleached in the moonlight. The dark waters below reflected the moonlight abstractedly, creating a shadowy effect. And what you saw in those shadows were your own business. It was my favourite place to be.
Normally I would be alone on this bridge. I would take a break from my walk there and stare at those waters in fascination. On this night, however, there was a young man sitting on the rail looking at his own shadows in the water. He didn’t turn his head when I walked onto the planks, even though he must have heard me. I turned to the other railing, respecting his privacy, and creating my own.
We stayed like that for a while; both of us staring at the water. But then the boy turned his head and spoke the words that changed me forever.
“I’m glad I’m not alone. I was always afraid I would die alone.” Without another sound he pushed himself off the rail, plunging himself into the freezing waters below.
With a cry I ran off the bridge and down the embankment. It was dark, and I had no name to call him, so I simply yelled, “Hey!” Over and over again.
But nobody answered. Nobody surfaced. I grabbed my cell and did the only thing I could, I called emergency services. The team responded quickly, and soon the boy’s body was fished out of the river, while I stood to the side, helpless, useless, alone.
I didn’t want to look, but I did anyway. His face had a bluish tinge and his lips were purple. When they checked his pockets they found large rocks to weigh him down, but nothing else.
I didn’t even know this boy, I never learned his name, but his face still haunts my dreams. And in my dreams he repeats his last words, “I was always afraid I would die alone.”
And now I am too.