Meeting on a Bridge

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Two, lonely suicides meet, unexpectedly, on the same bridge.

Submitted: December 22, 2007

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Submitted: December 22, 2007

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Ruby sat on the edge of the bridge, her legs dangling over the side. She stared down into the calm, black water and watched the assorted bits of pollution gently drift around underneath the surface. The wind picked up a little bit and Ruby pulled her jacket around her body tighter and shivered, it was cold tonight, but then, she wouldn’t feel it soon enough.
She reached into her pocket and pulled out a small bottle, and shook it gently. A small rattle told her that it was almost full. There were at least twenty-five tablets left, which was more than enough. Slowly, she unscrewed the lid and tipped a few of the small, white pills into the palm of her hand. They seemed to glow in the moonlight. She tilted her head back and was just about to tip the pills down her throat when something caught her eye. A small movement out of the corner of her eye, she could hear foot-steps as well. She quickly replaced the pills in the bottle and stuffed it in her pocket. Then she pressed herself against a column of bricks on the bridge, willing the shadows to hide her.
The visitor turned out to be a boy, who looked just a little older than Ruby. He had scruffy blonde hair and pale skin. He looked half dead. His ripped, baggy jeans and worn hoodie that hung like a sack over his small frame made Ruby wonder if he had just walked off the streets. The boy walked up to the railing on the bridge and looked over the side, he placed his hands flat against the surface and looked ready to jump. Suddenly, Ruby knew that this boy was about to do, that jump would kill him – And something told Ruby that was the boy’s intention. Because she could stop herself she gave a strangled sort of yelp, before clapping a hand over her mouth. The boy jumped back from the railing as if he had been burnt.
‘H-hello?’ He said, and Ruby could hear the terrible stutter in his voice ‘Who’s
t-there?’
Ruby blushed as she emerged from the shadows ‘Sorry’ she mumbled ‘I didn’t think anyone would be coming this time of night.’
The boy glared at her ‘W-well…you shouldn’t be h-here’ he stuttered ‘it’s
d-dangerous…you should leave.’
Ruby raised an eyebrow ‘If it’s so dangerous than why are you here?’ she asked
The boy mumbled something that Ruby couldn’t hear properly, something about making it all better. Ruby took a cautious step towards the boy and peeped over the railing.
‘You were going to jump weren’t you?’ she asked sadly.
The boy threw her a nervous look, then looked at the ground and nodded.
Ruby stared at the boy for about a minute then asked ‘What’s your name?’
The boy shuffled his feet, everything Ruby did seemed to make him nervous, and finally he answered.
‘It’s S-Seth…Seth A-Anderson.’
Something about that name sounded familiar…She had read it somewhere…perhaps at school? No, that wasn’t it. She gave a small smile.
‘I’m Ruby Nixon.’ She said, extending her hand.
Seth took it and gave her a quick handshake, his palms clammy and slick with sweat.
‘Ruby, that m-makes sense’ he said, nodding at her hair. Ruby laughed and tossed her huge mane of red curls over one shoulder ‘a little cliché I’ll admit, but I didn’t chose it. Everyone seems to like it except me’ she said, playing with one of the ringlets absently.
Seth gave a small smile ‘it’s p-pretty’ he said softly. He stared over the bridge and out into the distance of the lake where the sun would be rising in just a few short hours. ‘So, w-why are you standing on this bridge R-Ruby?’ he asked, a little confused.
Ruby shrugged, ‘the same reason as you’ she said, without a moment’s hesitation.
Seth looked at her ‘Y-you were going to j-jump?’
‘No exactly no’ admitted Ruby, extracting the bottle of pills from her pocket and holding them up in front of Seth’s face. ‘I was going for something a bit more movie-star.’
‘Why the b-bridge though?’ asked Seth ‘C-couldn’t you just do it in the b-bathroom like everybody else?’
Ruby shrugged again, ‘I like this place’ she explained ‘it’s beautiful. I want to see something beautiful before I die.’
Seth nodded ‘f-fair enough’ was all he said.
‘So what about you?’ asked Ruby ‘Why the bridge?’ Seth shrugged
‘It s-seemed the easiest way to g-go’ he said, digging his toe in the ground ‘I-I don’t like b-blood and have a very l-low pain tolerance…I c-couldn’t get the meds e-either’ he said, nodding at the bottle in Ruby’s hand.
Ruby shrugged ‘my mum’s a doctor…forge the signature and…’ her voice trailed off, but Seth could already guess the rest of the story.
‘So why?’ asked Ruby, getting in to conversation mode again.
Seth laughed ‘How can you talk about it so easily?’ he asked, amazed and disgusted at the same time.
Ruby pulled the jacket even tighter around her ‘I’m not afraid of death’ she said ‘I’m not afraid of dying. I don’t think it’s something that should be talked about with fear, or shame. We’re all going to die Seth, sooner or later – Our time just happens to be sooner.’
She leaned against the bridge and pulled a packet of cigarettes and a lighter from her jacket pocket and extended them towards Seth.
‘Want one?’
Seth screwed up his nose and Ruby laughed ‘Suit yourself’ she said, pulling one from the pack and lighting it up. Seth took a small step towards her.
‘No’ he said quickly ‘I’ll h-have one…’
Ruby grinned and the pack and lighter over.
It took Seth about two minutes to light the cigarette which he them clamped into his mouth and sucked on with a little too much enthusiasm. A few seconds of coughing and spluttering followed. Ruby laughed.
‘You’re so awkward Seth, why?’
Seth dropped his eyes to the ground ‘I d-don’t like to be noticed’ he admitted ‘I don’t like p-people to know I’m t-there. I’ve been h-hiding most of my life, s-so when it comes to b-being around p-people – I d-don’t really know how to a-act.’
‘Why don’t you want to be noticed?’
Seth shrugged ‘T-there’s not much about m-me that I want to be n-noticed. I’m no one s-special – People go in and o-out of their daily lives without k-knowing me and get along j-just fine. I see n-no real reason for t-them to k-know me.’
An awkward silence hung in the air as Ruby tried to digest what Seth had just said. She decided not to comment, and instead stood there, silently smoking. Finally the silence was broken by Seth.
‘W-why?’
‘Huh?’ Ruby looked up, confused.
Seth took a deep breath ‘W-why are you c-choosing to do it?’
Ruby wrapped her arms around herself and stared at the lake blankly with lips pursed, and for a moment Seth wondered if he had gone to far in asking her.
Finally she answered. ‘I’m sick of my parents expecting me to be who they want me to be’
Seth looked at her, confused; before Ruby went on to continue.
‘My parents have grown up with the image of a perfect child, and when I came along it was a huge disappointment. I don’t get perfect grades, I didn’t join the French club and become fluent in the language of love, and I don’t want to graduate with honours with a dream to become a lawyer, or try to get into med school. And I know that they hate that, but I don’t want to change. I want to be in Drama and I want to drop out after year eleven and travel around the world. To them, I am the biggest shame they could have imagine. To them I am no longer their daughter – I’m not someone to be proud of and I have carried that on my head for sixteen years. Now, maybe I can stop their shame and maybe they’ll find another perfect child.’
As she spoke a single teardrop slid down her cheek and silently fell into the water below. She hurriedly wiped the offending tearstain from her face with her sleeve and turned to Seth to ask him his reasons when she stopped dead.
Seth Anderson…she remembered why that name sounded familiar. She took a step backwards.
‘You’re…him’ she said, scared, yet intrigued at the same time.
Seth sighed and leaned against a lamp post, the light fell on his face and lit up his features and Ruby could clearly see that his face was completely indented with scars. ‘Y-yes, I’m Seth A-Anderson, I’m surprised it took you s-so long to realise what
m-my name meant. M-most people recognise me s-straight away. T-then again, I was in e-every p-paper imaginable, and s-so it shouldn’t b-be too h-hard.’
Ruby bit her lip ‘I think I understand why you’re going through with it’ she said truthfully. Seth nodded.
‘I c-can never f-forgive myself. O-one drunken night w-with my friends, a stupid d-decision to drive home, n-next thing you know I’m laying in h-hospital and a mother and her t-twin girls are dead. It’s not fair t-that I should live when t-those who died did n-nothing wrong. A-after the accident was when I d-developed this s-stutter.’
He looked away shamefully.
Ruby dug her teeth into her lip a little more, not knowing what to say. She walked over to the side of the bridge and watched the horizon; the sun was just starting to come up. She took the bottle of pills out of her pocket, and emptied the contents into the palm of her hand. She stared at them for a few seconds. Seth came up behind her and looked over her shoulder at the pills in her hand. Ruby slipped her other hand into his and squeezed it gently. Seth put his mouth close to her ear.
‘Are y-you going to d-do it?’ he whispered.
Slowly, Ruby tipped her hand, causing every, single one of the pills to drop down into the lake below them. She turned her head to face Seth’s, they were centimetres apart. She swiftly kissed him on the cheek.
‘No Seth…’
She led him away from the edge of the bridge and, hand in hand, they walked homewards, with the suns morning rays reflecting off their backs.


© Copyright 2017 Anna Banana. All rights reserved.

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