September 25th, 2012
The bridge shudders a bit, but that's okay. It doesn't need to hold her up for much longer. It doesn't really need to hold her up at all. The music in her ears rises to a crescendo, making her head throb and her eyes roll closed. It's like rapture, the music. Violins and warmpad tones that come and go in wonderful, waving circles...
She sighs, breathing in the music and the cool evening air, swinging her feet back and forth, leaning forward into the pull of gravity. It's exhilarating, breathing in the scent of the water racing along dozens of feet below her. The breeze kisses her skin, wicking away the slow, steady stream of tears that trails down her cheeks. The pain in her heart throbs deeper with every breath, every heartbeat.
She shivers, suddenly feeling a chill creep over her skin. This time it will be different, she thinks. This time the hurt will end, the despair will finally be gone. The loneliness won't matter anymore. Nothing will.
She rocks forward, and then back, forward, back, pretending the railing is a swing, or that bar on a jungle gym that she would hang upside-down from as a child. A child, before the hurt, before the constant struggle with the voices in her head that constantly put her down, screaming at her that she had no worth, no reason for being.
The throbbing in her chest increases, a lump of cold emptiness forming under her ribs, blocking the air from reaching her lungs. Her head spins, her mouth drops open as she struggles to breathe, tears overflowing from her eyes.
She rocks forward one more time, teetering on the very edge of the rail, shuddering, finally managing to gasp in a single breath.
She lets go.
I raced to the bridge, shouting with horror, leaning over the railing and looking down. In the dim evening light, I could see her, spread out on the rocks that jutted up from the riverbed. Her long hair trailed in the water, and several rivulets of black fluid streaked from her body down into the swirling water. It had to be blood. I stood there, looking down, my body frozen in shock and dismay.
I couldn't help but feel that this was somehow my fault.
After a while, I managed to pull myself together and call campus security. My brain felt scrambled, my nerves wound into a frenzied bundle of wild signals that couldn't seem to reach their target cells.
"Hello? What is your emergency?" The voice on the other end of the line was insistent, almost impatient.
"I...I...um..." I couldn't find the words. They were in my head, but I couldn't find them in my mouth for some reason.
"Ma'am? What is your emergency?"
"My roommate just commit suicide."
Sometimes you don't really notice something until it's gone. Unfortunately, that happens with people too. I spent nearly two months walking past that girl every day. We shared a kitchen, a bathroom, a home, more or less.
Yet I didn't even know her last name. Maybe that's why I felt like I could have stopped this. Maybe that's why I suddenly wanted to rip my insides out and throw them away, just to make the nauseating, fluttering, twisting ache inside cease. Was this how she felt when she jumped? If it was, I can see why she did it.
I just wish I could have stopped her.