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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Review Chain








The river was extremely choppy that overcast day. Gray and murky, no sun to reflect on its angry surface. 

The five-mile bike ride over had been very pleasant, even on the brisk fall morning. The cool air reviving him rather than chilling him.

He stepped off the bike and with his foot flipped out the kickstand. There was a slight squeak before it clicked into place.

The whooshing sound as traffic passed, its song bouncing off the bridge's superstructure and echoing back at him.

He looked out over the vast expanse from the middle of the bridge that bisected the river at its widest point. 

Sometimes he felt like his mind was bisected too. Two enemies at war, fighting over the same piece of land. A never-ending conflict. He struggled with that every day. Struggled to figure out a way to traverse that chasm. 

He inhaled deeply. The cool air filled his lungs and refreshed him. 

For the last several years he had contemplated this moment, usually just fleetingly, but he was determined now. He had even left a note this time. That made it feel real. 

He had taken medication for his depression and it seemed to work for a while, but it made reality seem like he was living under frosted glass. He had recently stopped taking the pills and his mind felt much clearer now. He actually felt like he was alive again but then the conflict returned.  

He realized that the meds were just repressing his true feelings, not curing him of the disease. 

What did he have to live for anyway? He was thirty, living at home, friendless, jobless, his mother the only woman in his life. 

Katrina and the Waves began singing Walking on Sunshine from his jacket pocket. It was muffled until he pulled out his cell, then the music, much louder and clear now, joined the traffics din. 

It was his mother calling.  She was at work so she couldn’t have seen the note yet. He answered. 

“Hey, mom what’s up?”

“I’m going to stop by the supermarket after work, anything, in particular, you want me to pick up?”

“I’m good, mom. Thanks anyway.”

“Are you ok honey? I can barely hear you.”

“I’m fine mom, I’m outside, it's just traffic.”

“Okay honey, I’ll see you later, love you.”

“Love you too, mom.”

A triple beep as his mother disconnected.  He sighed. His mother's voice always had a calming effect on him, even in the toughest of times. 

He hesitated, having second thoughts. 

A small freighter passed out of view as it moved under the bridge. 

Could he overcome the conflict? Could he find the strength to go on living? 

A car horn blasted, scaring him, his heart skipped a beat.  He glanced over the edge. The fall would definitely do the job, in fact, there had been many suicides on this particular bridge over the years. It was one of the reasons he chose it. 

Should he go home, get back on the meds and live a muddy existence? Was that any kind of life to live? 

The water called to him.  

He was so tired. 

He climbed up onto the bridge's parapet.

Katrina and the Waves sang from his pocket a second time. His mother calling again.

He stepped down and swiped his thumb across the screen accepting the call. 


“One more thing I forgot to mention honey, I’m making you your favorite tonight, pot roast so don’t be late. Love you” She clicked off before he could respond. 

That voice again. Like its own medication. She was way too good to him considering all the pain he put her through his whole life.

He tried to imagine how his death would affect her. He wondered if she’d be able to go on herself and that made him, impossibly, feel worse. He imagined her taking the same leap, a swan dive from the same exact spot, almost majestic, almost beautiful when broken down to its simplest form. 

He shuddered and a tear rolled down his cheek he thought about wiping it away but in a way it was comforting. The tear splashed onto his Chuck Taylors. 

Was taking your own life a selfish act? He prided himself on having empathy for others but could one have empathy for themselves? 

He kept hearing his mother's voice in his head, kept imagining her crying, banging her fists upon his coffin screaming “why?”

He kept telling himself it was unfair to compromise his feelings. But then again his mother always told him life wasn’t fair. Ironically death wasn’t fair either he surmised. The struggle will always be there like a chronic illness. Could he live with that?

He felt a sudden warmth. The sun was breaking through. A beam of sunlight like a laser pointed directly on this face. Was it a sign? Probably not. He never believed in such things. Although his mother would have thought differently. She was the religious one. 

Then again maybe it was a sign. Not from God necessarily but maybe deep down from the pit of his own being. 

The wind died down and the water began to settle a bit. 

He settled a bit too. 

Like his depression, he would always have ups and downs. Maybe he would get back on the meds but probably not, it was too hard to live his life in a fog. He needed the clarity of reality even if it meant dealing with the war in his mind. 

He was stronger than he gave himself credit for. He could fight this. He would let love be the deciding factor.

He got on his bike and pedaled off toward the ever-widening blue skies. Like a new day dawning, bright and welcoming. He looked down onto the water as he rode on. He could see his image reflecting back at him.  Like his mind, the water was no longer murky but clear.


















Submitted: October 20, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Burgerhicks80. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:



Beautiful and heart-warming. To be frank, I'd have been deeply saddened if you'd given a tragic ending to this story but you portrayed how the man conquers his demons in the pits of hell and rules over them. This ending truly made me feel elated and gave a positive outlook on life for the reader instilling confidence in them to face any challenge in life. You have described the struggles of a depressed person perfectly and the lingering transition from Stage 5 - Depression to Stage 6 - Suicide has been described up to the mark. The crux of the story - 'Not to mean that people who give up on their lives are selfish but if they took a moment - just a moment, to think about the consequences of their sudden farewell, they definitely would think twice before giving up on everything.' is amazing. I've commented on a few words in the story and believe that given the nearing deadline, you might not have had sufficient time to review. (I hope it helps.)

But overall, you've done an excellent job in capturing the emotions of a person undergoing depression, Kudos!

Thu, October 21st, 2021 4:20am


Thank you so much. Quite frankly if you read most of my other works I’m very much more likely to end my stories the other way. I chose to go the positive route on this one for a change it also felt like a more natural ending l.

Thu, October 21st, 2021 5:11am


I liked that there was a happy ending, and what I liked most about it was that it was his mom's call and voice that helped him. It was very heart-warming. As frosty as medication may be though I do wonder if it would be a better option than suicide, but people going through it don't always see it that way. Great story, and it was really nice and encouraging to see the impact and love of family.

Mon, October 25th, 2021 12:52am

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