Under the Windy Bridge

Jack Gibson sat under the bridge, letting his feet dangle in the water slowly flowing below. The wind blew his neck length blond hair and he had to squint his brown eyes to keep the dirt out of them. He used the back of his hand to wipe the remaining tears out of his eyes. This is where he always went to think things over or to just be alone. His mother was generally the reason for him coming here, though never as long as this. He has been here since noon and now the sun was setting behind the trees, leaving its distinct orange sky without any clouds to blemish its beauty.

"She went too far this time." Jack whispered so quietly it was blown away with the strong wind, trying to convince himself that he is doing the right thing, being away from home for so long. He intended to stay here the entire night. This was his spot. Maybe if she actually cared to notice she would figure out where he always went when he ran away. He didn't exactly go somewhere impossible to figure out, if you knew anything about his past you would know why he came here.

He watched the leaves fall from the trees and dance across the wind until they land in the river to be taken down stream. If only I was a leaf, he thought to himself, I could just be glide on the wind to freedom.

The heavy traffic of the day has calmed down to a slow trickle. No lunch rush, no dinner rush, no one trying to get back home after work; just the occasional person out for an afternoon drive. It was soft sound like listening to a melody while doing homework.

The bridge itself was not anything impressive. An average bridge that hangs over the gap of the river. Being just built a few months ago, it didn't have any major cracks in it. The bridge was just called windy bridge to all the locals of this small town. So far it has lived up to its name. It has almost a constant breeze that when at its worst makes the bridge almost impassible by foot. But usually it just has a soft constant breeze perfect for hot days like today.

Jack can hear crunching in the leaves behind him, but doesn't even bother to turn and look who it is, he already knows. He raises and gives a small halfhearted wave to his best friend Jess. Jess has long brown hair that she has to hold behind her to stop it from flying in the wind. Her brown eyes were locked onto him as she made her way over.

"Your mom called me. She is really worried about you." Jess says as she takes a seat next to him.

"I know, I just don't care right now." Jack says, his eyes never leaving the river.

"She says you have been gone for hours. You are never gone this long. What is on your mind now?"

"We got into another fight on how I just need to get up and move on from my dad's death. I wonder if she ever really loved him, I don't think she has shed a tear yet."

"Maybe she just wants to be strong in front of you. She probably hopes you leach off her imaginary strength and pull yourself together. Would your dad want you to be out here just mourning over his death? You know that he would want you out there living your life. Also, you need to give your mother a break. Keep in mind that she lost her husband, and is now forced to be the father and mother in your life." Jack doesn't respond. He just stares down at the river, not really knowing what to say.

"Think of your father like a leaf. In the summer they are green and beautiful. But by winter, they have all fallen to the ground and died. But they leave new buds to take their place. Those buds then grow just as big and beautiful as the previous one. Now, why don't we just get you home?" Jess asks as she rises to her feet giving a small stretch. She reaches her hand down to Jack who accepts. Once up, Jack wipes the dirt off his shorts and began the walk home, Jess right by his side; where she has always been.

The walk home was relatively silent. Jack was still slightly angry at his mother but felt a bit a lot better than he did before. He walked up to the door, turning to give Jess a goodbye wave and smile. He turned back to the door and let out small sigh and opened the door and entered the small building.

The house was a two story two bed room house. The house was relatively clean besides a few pieces of stray clothing here and there. Jack is suddenly swept into a giant hug from his mother who just moments ago was sitting in a recliner chair watching TV.

"Where exactly have you been?" The question came out sounding much more like a demand through his mother's strict voice. "I have been here for hours worrying about you. You are always back by dinner."

"I was out a dad's last project. It is where I always." Jack says with a roll of his eyes.

"I should have guessed that."

"Yeah, anyway I'm sorry for being gone for so long, I won't do it again."

"You know your dad was excited to get that bridge built. I just wished he lived to see it."

"So do I. I like to think he can see me better from the bridge. I like to just sit there and talk to him."

"I cross that bridge every day for work. I know it is longer but it just feels right." Jack saw his mother wipe a tear out of her eye.

"Do you think we could have a picnic there sometime? Just you and me, and maybe Jess?"

"Only if you promise to keep up your grades and try to start living again. No more spending your afternoons at the bridge. Your father can see you fine anywhere, and I am sure he wants to see you live your life, not waste it away at the bridge.

"Alright. I will try my best."

"Just try to make some more friends? I know you have Jess but she is only one person."

"I will, I will." Jack says letting out a small laugh at his mother's persistence.

"Come on, we are heading out for a bit."

"Why?"

"Since you father worked so hard on that bridge I think we should make a little monument for him down under it. We will just put stack some sticks and leave a photo of him there."

"Okay, sounds good."

The walk to the bridge is short enough. The walk seemed even faster this time now that Jack was in a better mood and was chatting with his mother. Once they arrived under the bridge they split up into the small wooded area to find some sticks. After about half an hour of this, they met back right at the edge of the river. They began stacking the sticks, slowly building a good sized pile. With the sticks stacked Jack watches his mother pull out a framed picture of his father from her purse. His father had neck length brown hair and had wonderful green eyes.

Jack stares at the picture and can't help but smile at the small monument they built. Leaves and sticks swirled around it. Even the winds of windy bridge couldn't move this monument.