‘Are you thinking about jumping?’
She paused, swallowed, then jiggled her bottom on the brickwork.
‘I’m not quite sure yet’, she responded, moving the hair out of her face. ‘I’m just in rather a conundrum.’
He calmly inquired as to the nature of this conundrum.
‘Well,’ she began, swinging her legs up and down, ‘I just don’t see the point of it all, you know?’
‘It just seems…’ she trailed off. ‘It just seems so futile. I mean, what’s the point?’
He motioned for her to continue, keeping his eyes firmly rooted to her smooth legs dangling off the edge of the bridge. It would take merely one slight motion…
‘We are born into the cruel world, fresh and naïve’ she began, ‘then thrust into childhood and adolescence with so much weight bared upon our shoulders. We think ourselves heavy, but no matter what, we grow heavier with each passing year. We learn of new sadness’s, of new injustices more with each passing day, until it gets oh so heavy that I am surprised this old bridge hasn’t collapsed under the weight of us two.’
‘You should give this bridge more credit’ he replied, sitting up beside her with the utmost care and precision, ‘it’s been sitting here, both saving and slaughtering people for hundreds of years.’
The girl turned to him, red eyes squinting through the tangerine sunset.
‘I have travelled to the end of the world’, she said, ‘seen the stars implode in a maelstrom of dynamism and desperation. I have witnesses this Earth burn and crumble under the heat of the sun, and yet people still continue on. They keep ploughing onwards, unaware of the fate that will one day befall them.’
He smiled, ‘people don’t like to think of their own mortality,’ he said. ‘It scares them. We prefer to simply shut it out.’
‘I cannot understand why’, she replied. And with that, she stood herself up, the wind tearing between her sleek young legs. ‘If I jump right now, people will not be scared for me, they will not feel sorry for me. They will simply be afraid; afraid that I have reminded them of their own, fragile mortality.’
‘People are selfish beings’, he agreed, watching the last of the sun disappear beneath the cherry skies. ‘Even now, as I reprimand you and urge you to get down from this very bridge, I know it is simply because I want to know what those soft lips of yours feel like.’
Chuckling, she fingered a lock of her hair.
‘Ah, I do so love these special talks we have.’
Then she climbed down and led him by the hand, home.
Copyright © 2016 Rebecca Sherratt