The Bridge

I'm standing on a bridge. Not a metaphor, not the idea of a bridge, a real fucking bridge. It's cold and the end of my nose is numb. The drizzle is coming down as if it will never end. I look down at the cars, they have their lights on, even though it's daytime. That's how much of a grim day this is. They make that swishing sound as they go past on the black road. The air is heavy with exhaust fumes.

Tears course down my cheeks. I'm crying for myself, my daughter, even my mother who I hardly knew. The pain's all I've got left, my veins are full of it. My thoughts float up like bubbles that burst one by one. I'm worthless. I may as well not be here. Get it over with. I hate them all. Nobody cared. Just do it, get it over with.

I heave myself over the white painted barrier and stand there looking down at the cars swishing past, each containing a small world of people. It's making me feel dizzy and my hands are cold. The railing's slippery with the rain, my foot starts to slide away from me, terrified, I scrabble to bring it back, it slips again. My hands grip the railings even harder, making my knuckles go white. My heart's beating so fast I feel it pulsing all through my body, and the blood is rushing in my ears. I want to be sick. It takes all my will to let go with one hand so I can turn and lever myself back over the barrier. I'm so stiff with the cold, I could easily lose my grip, but I don't. 

Sodden, hair sticking to my forehead, I limp off, stiffly, down the pavement. I pass a couple of grey men in suits. They look away and pretend they haven't seen me. The car lights dazzle me, brilliant through the rain.

by Liz Barnes


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