The Beginning of the End


She looked down at the Hudson River. From up here it looks like an angry, wide road. Her hands leaned against the railing of the bridge as cars passed behind her from New Jersey to New York. The voice floated into her mind again. What was it saying? What did it want her to do? The heavy traffic behind her sounded like a faint hum as a tiny smile crept over her lips. It was almost like there was a hive of busy, happy bees back there.
The policeman running toward her from his car yelled at her again as he saw the woman climb onto the railing of the bridge. Other motorists were slowing down now too. The rubber necking drivers gaped at the woman in the floral print dress climbing onto the railing of the walkway.

She saw none of this. She was a bird, after all. She was going to fly away as all birds do. It was snowing but she wasn’t cold up here without a coat. Actually, she felt rather warm. Time to fly.

She stepped off the railing. There was a moment of clarity when she heard the chuckling. It was loud. Was it someone behind her? She didn’t want to jump. Why was she stepping off the bridge? Oh God, please don’t let me die! her mind screamed. If someone had seen her face, they could have seen the terror in her eyes and the soundless scream escaping her mouth. She looked bewildered too, as though wondering why her body was betraying her.

The officer almost touched the heel of her shoe as she disappeared over the edge. He gasped as he made it to the railing. Other people had jumped up onto the walkway as well. Those who made it to the railing looked down and had a glimpse of the falling woman. There was a splash as her body hit the water, but they couldn’t hear it. They were up too high. They saw the waters part for an instant; as though opening a space for her body.

Each of the by standers looked around at each other. Who would be chuckling at this? They thought as they heard the laugh.

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