His hair fell in wisps around his face, softly blowing in the breeze. The salt was condensing on his hair and beard, and the smell of the river was strangely alluring. When he had walked on to the bridge, the stale smell from his clothes wore off almost immediately and welcomed the warm, watery breath of the river’s bosom. He wondered if he had moved into the influence of something more real than what he had experienced in his life so far, that the water of the river was trembling to engulf him right now.
“What?” he shouted out. To no one in particular, he narrowed his eyes, as if deep in thought, like –
“No! I am talking to you! What are you saying?”
Lately, he had begun to realize that there was more to his own being than what he was thinking or deciding. He realized this subtly, like when he was reaching for his cell phone, but instead reached for his pen. Or when all he wanted was to kiss his wife, but he ended up getting up from bed in the middle of the night to get a fresh drink of water even when he wasn’t thirsty at all. He tried to question it, but it was silenced. But now, it was going to be over soon. Everything that he had been provided as a measure for control, had been taken away from him. His wife was gone, taking their children with her, and he had lost his home. He had nowhere else to go but stand here and wait for the river to come to him, or to go to the river himself.
“What the hell? What are you saying, you psycho nutcase?!” He looked up with disgust, almost screaming this time.
He was delusional now, his brain slowly losing control over his body, and his mind was now its own captive. It was like his feet were taking him to climb over the rail, and throw himself –
“Oh my god! What are you saying? I am not going to jump off! I am just here to enjoy the breeze. I have children waiting for me at home!”
The story that he had imagined was now taking real life form, with his mind projecting images of his children to him. But he was clueless now that what he was actually seeing was nothing but a figment of his imagination. A piece of the past that was long gone from everyone’s life, except his own. His wife was already on the flight to her parents’ home, as were their children cuddled along her arm. He was all alone. And there is only one answer to homelessness, and loneliness, and the answer was right in front –
“Are you insinuating that I will jump from the bridge? My family is right at my home here! Why – What are you doing?”
He had to do this, he was born to fulfill this purpose in the larger picture of the fate that the world was going towards. The river, the bridge, everything had existed right for this moment to take place. He could not turn away anymore. It would be betrayal to everything that he was, and everything that he was supposed to be. He was defying his own creation.
“Godammit! I am not defying anything! Are you on acid, man? Look, I just want to go home. I am a normal guy, with a simple life. I should go now. All right, big girl?”
He began to walk away from the rail and stepped onto the concrete road. He turned around, and began to walk along the road, his hair wild in the wind. But something pulled him back, a deeply held secret, something that is only awakened when one is face to face with one’s wildest desires. Even he knew that he had to go back. There was no other way for this to conclude.
“No, girl. That ain’t happening. You need to go get some sleep…” His voice trailed off as he waved his hand without turning around. And just like that, the river, and the bridge, disappeared.