Piece By Piece (For All Those Who Struggle)
I hang over the barrier staring at the white-tipped water so far below. Whether capped in froth or an army of gulls who flex their wings upon it, the muddied waters rage towards the sea. The whole experience gives me vertigo; I don’t like heights, never have. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t even approach the flimsy, caged divide between an obliterating fall and the bridge I stand on, but today is not one of those days.
My stomach has dropped away to be replaced by a granite rock. The thing churns because it knows what I contemplate — jump says the voice, jump — and I might. As The updrafts chill my face and a car speeds from left to right leaving another knot twisting in my gut, I want to do it. I so want to do it. Just to see how it feels. Just to see if I would ever feel it again.
This is not an unusual occurrence even though it is wrong and I tell myself to stop being stupid. What is wrong with me? What is wrong with those who do not understand? Breathe.
Not today, I tell myself. A glance each way and I realise I have a half-mile walk towards one shore or the other — that’s an awful lot of time to think. I don’t risk walking, I run. But no matter how fast I do so, and no matter how far I leave the bridge and the river behind, I know I’ll never outrun myself.
For all of you who struggle, know this: you don’t struggle alone.