Looking Down (story by Jim Woessner)

“What’s going on?”

It was a uniformed Bridge Patrol officer dismounting his bicycle in the center of the span.

“It’s not what you think,” Mark said, smiling. “I’m not going to jump.”

“Hard to tell,” the officer said. “You’ve been standing out here for twenty minutes looking down at the water. I’ve been watching you on the CCTV.”

“Just research,” Mark said. “A character in a novel I’m writing is contemplating suicide. I’m here trying to figure out what might be going through her mind before she jumps.”

“I can tell you exactly,” the officer said. “Hopelessness, anxiety, and resolve in that order.”

“You sound like you know something about suicide.”

“I see one a week,” he said. “Sometimes two. It gets to you. Makes you wonder if any of it is worthwhile.”

“Any of what?” Mark asked.

“Life,” the officer said. “People come here and throw it away like a wad of paper trash.”

“Interesting perspective. I appreciate it. Thanks for talking to me.”

“No problem,” the officer said. “Be safe.”

Mark turned to leave, then stopped and turned back. “Say, one more question…”

When he looked, the officer was gone. His bicycle was leaning against the guard railing.


Image by esudroff from Pixabay