The Bridge

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The Bridge

Author’s note: This story contains frank discussion of suicide. Please read with care.

From the moment I saw the bridge, I knew it was destined to be an important part of my life.

It dominated the area, so everytime I went for a walk around my neighborhood I found myself looking in awe at it,

Then I would shake my head, to try and get on with my life.

Unfortunately, that was becoming much harder than I would have liked.

Mostly because of a struggle I’d dealt with all my life - I’d rather be a girl.

Or maybe I am a girl, forced to live a boy’s life.

Either way, it sucked.

I failed at school so I was working a dead-end minimum wage job trying to pay off my debt, and when I wasn’t working I was hiding in my tiny apartment, without a friend to my name.

So I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that I started to think about that bridge, not as a way across the river, but as a way out of life.

But I decided that if I was going to go out, I wanted to do it in style, as a girl.

So I started figuring out how I could manage it.

I started going to bridal shops and formal wear places, only to realize such an outfit was far beyond my means.

Then I tried a costume shop, only to find out that with such an outfit required either a large cash deposit, or more often, a credit card number as a damage deposit. both of which I didn’t have.

I downgraded my dreams, and looked at regular women’s departments, and then started looking at thrift shops and consignment stores.

Finally, I found a skirt and blouse I could squeeze into, and I prepared for my trip.

I didn’t bother with a note, I was going to let my outfit do all the talking, as I didn’t really know what to say anyway.

I was able to find a dollar store that sold panties, bras, and hose, and bought one of each, and slipped them on before putting on the skirt and blouse.

Not having any women’s shoes, I just put on my runners, and went out to meet my appointment with the bridge.

I took back alleys as long as I could, but a block from the entrance to the bridge I had to come out into the sidewalk beside a busy street, and so I tried to move quickly without running.

I made it onto the bridge, I walked to the halfway point, and looked down at the river far below.

I tried to make myself go over the railing, but I simply couldn’t. My fear of heights crippled me, I couldn’t help thinking of how much it would hurt if I somehow survived.

So I sat down and sobbed instead.

I was still crying when I heard a voice call to me “Miss? Are you alright?”

I looked up, and there was a female police officer standing a few feet away from me.

‘No. I’m not alright. I can’t even die properly.” I sobbed.

“Maybe you should try living instead?”

“I can’t live. I can’t be the girl I think I am. I can’t survive as the boy everyone thinks I am. I ... what’s the use.” I stood up, and took hold of the railing that was the only thing separating me from a fall into the river below.

“There’s plenty of use, hon.” The policewomen said.

“What use?” I cried.

“How old are you?”

“Nine ... Nineteen.”

“The use is what might happen when you’re twenty. Or forty, or sixty, or however long your lifespan turns out to be. There could be something amazing right around the corner, but you have to make it to the corner to find out.”

“But no one will ever see me as a girl!”

“I did. In fact, I still do.”

I looked at her hard. Part of me thought she was just trying to get me to not jump. But I ached to be seen as I really was, and wanted desperately to believe she was being truly sincere.

“Realy ... but ... but my body, ... my ... my face ...”

“You might be surprised what the right hormones could do for your body, and a little makeup would do wonders for your face. But those are not what make me see you as a girl, Its your body language that practically screams ‘girl’ to me.”

“I’ve tried so hard to hold it in. I can’t anymore. It hurts ... it hurts so much ...”

“If you will let me, I’ll help you find someone who can help you bring her out.”

I sank to my knees, breaking down completely.

She came and held me until my sobbing stopped, then she helped me to my feet.

“Come on, its getting cold out here. Lets get you somewhere warm.”

She started leading me across the bridge, and I asked her, “You really think they can help bring the girl out in me?”

“Sure they can. They did it for me.”

I looked at her in shock. Then I smiled for the first time in forever, and let her lead me towards the end of the bridge.

Towards help, hope, a future I hadn’t even dared to dream of.

One baby step at a time.

End.



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This story is 931 words long.

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Had me enthralled from the

Had me enthralled from the very first sentence. The build-up to the scene on the bridge was nothing short of heartbreaking.

Shopping as a metaphor for hopelessness. Inspired.

fa 144a.jpg Nicki

thanks, Nicki

glad you enjoyed this one.

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Andrea Lena DiMaggio's picture

Recalling....

“The use is what might happen when you’re twenty. Or forty, or sixty, or however long your lifespan turns out to be. There could be something amazing right around the corner, but you have to make it to the corner to find out.”

There have been so many days where I've barely made it to the corner, but I know that whatever is ahead might be wonderful.

Crying is all right in its own way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later,
and then you still have to decide what to do. ― C.S. Lewis
Love, Andrea Lena

It just might be wonderful, Drea

Sometimes, the wonderful needs a little help in happening, though.

Thanks for being a beta reader, and commenting publicly.

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tmf's picture

Wow, Thanks

Wow, Thanks

Peace and Love
Sweet Huggles tmf

thank you, TMF !

huggles back.

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Thank you

for a good cry.

T

good cries are a good thing

thanks for sharing how this one impacted you.

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Hypatia Littlewings's picture

End. Nope!

A beginning,
"Towards help, hope, a future..."
"One baby step at a time."
And that's all we really need!

Nice one!
>i< ..:::

thanks, Hypatia

we all need those baby steps.

Thanks for previewing this for me, and thanks for commenting

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hugs her baby sister

Just think. You would have never met me!

then again maybe that isn't a good thing to point out...

I'm super glad I met you, Jaci

where would I be, without my girly sister?

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Rhona McCloud's picture

Bridging the Void

Strong positive imagery in a bridge once she realises she's not alone. - good choice well written

Rhona McCloud

thanks, Rhona

glad you liked it, and thanks for commenting.

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Poignant and bittersweet

A bite sized slice of pain and heartache, ending with sweetness and hope.

You managed in a nice short story to convey the pain and eventual hope so may here also feel.

Thank you for sharing it with us.

thanks, Mandy Leigh!

I'm glad you enjoyed it, thanks for commenting.

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Wasn't Expecting...

...that fourth-to-last sentence.

Good one, Dorothy.

Eric

glad to surprise you, Eric

thanks for commenting

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Hutcho's picture

Thank-you for your wonderful story.

You've created some very definite feels here.

thanks, Hutcho !

sorry it ended up too long for the mix tape, but I'm glad you liked it!

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This was some good writing

and worth reading. Well done, Dorothy!

kandijayne

thanks, Kandijayne

I'm glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for commenting?

DogSig.png

thanks, Kandijayne

I'm glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for commenting

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I had to stop crying before I could type this....

Wow - I really don't know what other word to use.

Yeah, I've stood in the middle of the bridge staring down at the icy cold waters of the Hudson River before. I even climbed over the railing ready to let go, but I couldn't do it. Not through fear of heights - that's never been a problem for me. If I can jump out of a plane or a helicopter, then off a bridge is not a big deal. Not through fear of pain - I've lived with pain most of my life, both physical and emotional. Not through fear of death either; I got past that in a shithole of a town in Iraq while holding the best man I ever knew and watching the light in his eyes die.

No, what kept me from letting it all go was my children. Just as I was ready to take that last leap of faith - faith that a comforting blackness awaited me on the other end - my phone went off with a text from my youngest son. Something made me read it. He told me that he didn't understand, but that he was trying, and that no matter what happened he would always love me.

I still have that text. I have to save it every 29 days to keep it from being lost, but that's easy to remember as I read it every day. When things pile up too high, when the darkness starts to close in on me, I always have that little bit of light to see me through to the daylight again. And when things get really bad, I know that there is always that warm voice on the other end of the phone saying, "Hi dad - I love you."

We all have our bad days and nights - you just have to find your ray of light, your life preserver tossed on the water, your bit of hope and love on which to hold. I hope that mine is enough.

Still treading water,

Dallas

gad you're still treading water, Dallas

Beats drowning.

And you have more than your kids - you have people here on Big Closet who care too.

Thank you for being brave enough to share your story.

Huggles!

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Andrea Lena DiMaggio's picture

Willing!

Something made me read it. He told me that he didn't understand, but that he was trying, and that no matter what happened he would always love me.

How precious. Hold onto his love, sweetheart!

Crying is all right in its own way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later,
and then you still have to decide what to do. ― C.S. Lewis
Love, Andrea Lena

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