Monday, June 4, 2007

Dream Catcher.

He pulled the dented car over onto the side of the highway. Rush hour traffic screamed by him in the other three lanes. Horns whistled as the irate drivers raced dangerously close to his driver's side door, angrily flipping him off as he sat in his car weeping. The trashy small sedan reeked of cigarette smoke and the front windshield was stained with the yellow fog from every nicotine-laced exhalation. A dream catcher hung religiously from the bent rear view mirror. It hadn't worked in years.

The sun was at 2 o'clock. It's warm rays reflecting off the chrome gauges inside the piece of shit car. The car that he hated, but had to love, because it was all that was left. It was all he had in this world, and even though it stalled at every red light and sputtered along at 45 in the 55 mph zone, it allowed him what freedom he felt he had left.

Hands clutched to the steering wheel his mind raced. Bills, women, family, hopes and dreams all flashed before his eyes like a mirage. Good memories were shadowed by bad. The sun shining everywhere but on him. It was a warm spring day, yet he felt so cold.

He opened the driver's door recklessly, swinging it wide open into oncoming traffic. He didn't care. Maybe a car would hit him and save him from having to talk himself into doing what he was about to do. The cars veered, still honking and cursing him, as they maneuvered around the obstruction on the shoulder of the highway.

He placed his left foot out. Puffed fanatically on the burning cigarette in his hands and tossed the glowing-embered stump out the door and onto the warm, white pavement. He swung his other boot out from the rotting foot well and twisted its heel into the smoking cotton filter of his cigarette. The knobless radio still played his favorite cassette as he stood and exited his vehicle, leaving all his personal belongings inside. The engine misfired irregularly and the keychain with only one key rattled in the ignition.

The sand from the previous winter had all drifted to the side of the highway. It crunched with each step under his black boots. He made his way to the front of his car, stepping over blown-tire remnants and broken glass. He paused as the clouds framed the mountains in the west and the rays from the sun reflected off the broken glass near his feet. A gust of wind pushed through the open driver's door and rattled the dream catcher. He stood and watched it spin. Everything seemed as though it were underwater, his eyes floating in tears.

He grasped the concrete barrier and felt the coarseness irritate his hands. The black dirt under his fingernails contrasted the white, newly painted barrier. He knew what had to be done. He had every intention of following through.

He swung one leg over the barrier and straddled it like Clint Eastwood in a Spaghetti Western. His heart raced and his mind cleared.

He swung his other leg over. Now, he was sitting with his back to the highway. His butt securely planted on the concrete barrier with his heels wedged into a small lip of the outer-side of the bridge. His palms steadied him on this tight wire as his legs dangled over the side of the bridge. It was already as though he was floating, he could only see sky before him.

Behind him, the world raced by. No one cared about what was going on on this ledge. No one cared that a life was about to be destroyed. No one wanted to notice or even had the time. Alone, with his feet dangling 70 feet over a concrete sidewalk and paved rode, sat a crushed man about to end all the misery in his miserable life.

Then, sirens. From the distance and approaching fast. The wail seemed sharper and louder the closer it got.

He wedged his heels into the side of the bridge. He stood and his outstretched arms secured him as he neared death, his knees shaking.

The siren was here. He could see the light from the approaching ambulance. Flashing back and forth, the headlights of the boxy ambulance announced its presence.

And one last time, through weeping eyes, he looked back at his car. The dream catcher from the rearview mirror, spinning in the wind, had failed yet again. His dreams were lost and so too were his hopes.

He looked forward. Closed his eyes. And jumped.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

That was so moving, you never know what goes through a person's thoughts when they see no future ahead of them only more pain and sorrow. I hope this is not from personal experience.

Sage

Blue Ridge Medic said...

Jesus....

Surgeon in my dreams said...

I wish he had been able to remind himself that he would not always feel this way.

I know though that when you are in the black hole you don't always remember that it ever eases up for a while.

Loving Annie said...

Oh God, that is so sad... In the E.R., we get a lot of patients coming in with botched suicide attempts.

And the desolation on their faces, the crushed /lost /hopeless feeling you get from them makes my heart ache...

I don't know how to fix their pain, besides what's involved in my job... It's not something that can be done with one shift.

And yet I wish for them a resiliency that they did not know how to have, coping skills that eluded them, or maybe just the stubborness to find beauty in the world no matter what crap was going on in thier lives...

Life is so fragile. I hopethat someone, somewhere mourned him and he did not die completely unnoticed by the people who knew him...

Rest In Peace.

Anonymous said...

That was very moving.
I was once about to do that myself, but had an outbreak of cowardice/sense/good luck, at the last minute and didn't actually go through with it...you described what goes through the mind at such a time perfectly.

Anonymous said...

That was good. Keep em coming. More, please and more often. Now, about that BumFight...........

Fried Pie.

David lo pan said...

so... did he die?

did he get hit by a car on the pavement beneath him, scaring the living shit out of the elderly female driver who thought, until such time you or someone else told her he jumped? Did you get to talk to his wife or kids who think he did the most selfish thing a human being is capable of? Enquiring minds would like to know.

Morpheus said...

Amazing. Thank you.

Brandon said...

Wow...

Loving Annie said...

Just coming by to say hello again on Monday the 11th, Rocky MM !

Surgeon in my dreams said...

RM,

Missing you. You ok?

pixie.dust said...

I read a study about San Francisco bridge jumpers in which they interviewed the (few) survivors; almost all of them said their first thoughts upon jumping were "Oh, s***" and immediate, total regret for having done so. Makes me sad for all those jumpers out there. Thanks for sharing.

Lester Hunt said...

Excellent post! Keep it up!

Shazam! said...

"Nobody knows what lies behind
the days before the day you die..."

Song lyrics, not sure of the band. It's a creepy song.

kingmagic said...

Utterly compelling writing.
Felt like I was there standing two feet away watching him...

Some people kill themselves with clarity, others through madness and lots by mistake and poor judgement.

I,ve lost friends and colleagues through suicide and every time its been unforseen that they would do such a thing.