Research has shown that people who attempt suicide by jumping, when they have fallen three-quarters of the way down, they realize that all of their problems could have been easily solved.
Julie Cooper was not a happy woman. She was living in a trailer, husband-less and moneyless and full of guilt for every wrong turn she'd taken in her life.
She had her daughters, but didn't really feel that they needed her. Kaitlin had forged a new life at boarding school, replete with new friends who were always willing to let her crash at their places for the night. She hardly ever visited her mother, and when she did the visits were short and troublesome.
Marissa was even worse. She had found her own new families, with the Cohens and the Roberts. They had taken her in when she'd had nowhere else to go, so now whenever she was in trouble she turned to them instead of Julie. The only time she ever talked to her mother was either to complain or to throw accusations about what a bad parent she was. No, Marissa didn't need her.
Then there was Kirsten Cohen. There was a time when Julie considered Kirsten her best friend, but now Kirsten was caught up in her own life and problems. She still called, sometimes came over, but Julie felt distance growing between them. It wasn't like Kirsten needed her either, because Kirsten had her husband and her kids and Summer and Marissa. Kirsten deserved a better friend than Julie.
It hardly ever rained in Newport, but when it did the rain pelted down torrentially in cold stinging sheets.
Julie watched the rain fall through the darkened sky, her mood matching the weather. Her depression was at it's worst, and suddenly the thought occurred: Why do I do this? Why do I sit here and keep torturing them and myself, if I know that things'll just be better when I'm gone?
So she made her decision. She rifled through her closet and from the back of it pulled out a long, heavy coat that she didn't think she'd ever worn. She put it on, then stepped out into the downpour, immediately getting soaked. As she walked she put rocks in the coat pockets.
The only traffic was the occasional car, so she wouldn't have to worry about being seen. She walked to the bridge, the coat getting steadily heavier as it got covered with water and filled with rocks.
The bridge's railing had never seemed to flimsy. Julie wondered if it would hold her weight. Only one way to know. She pulled herself up onto the railing, teetering and trying to find her balance. When she was able to stand steadily, she stared at the black, swirling water below. It looked hard and metallic, like it would hurt when she hit it.
Don't think like that. Julie admonished herself, then closed her eyes, took one last breath, and allowed herself to fall forward.
The wind was frigid, and the rain was hitting her, but somewhere along the way she opened her green eyes so she could see the water fast approaching.
That's when it happened.
Everything stopped. Froze. Maybe it was just her crazed state of mind, but it really didn't seem all that unusual to Julie. Then the realization dawned. easily Everything could have been fixed so easily! She could have talked to her daughters, bonded with them, could have been nicer to Kirsten.
Then everything was moving again, the surface of the water zooming toward her, the wind blowing her red hair back. But I don't want to die! I know what to do now! Too late. The water's surface sent needles of pain through her as she slammed into it. Then, darkness. She couldn't see a damn thing. Everything was black, and her senses were overtaken by the roar of the waves thrashing above as the rain churned the water.
But one clear thought stood out in her mind. I have to get out of here. She was struggling with the buttons of the coat, trying to wrench it off so its weight wouldn't drag her down any more. In her panic, she was failing miserably. The roaring sound was growing steadily softer, but she continued to pull at the buttons, finally ripping them loose and pulling the coat off. Even that proved to be a feat, because the heavy wet fabric clung stubbornly to her. Finally pushing it off, she shot up toward the surface.
Her head broke through, and she gasped in sharp, precious air. She struggled and kicked her way to shore, fending off the waves that assaulted her on the way, sometimes pushing her back under. She always surfaced back up.
After an eternity, she reached the shore. Her hands clawed at the earth, and she scrambled desperately out of the vicious water. She lay there, panting, her hair strewn on the dirt as the rain pelted her.
Rain had never felt so good.
She moved again only when the rain had stopped and the sun was starting to peek out over the cumulous clouds. She stood unsteadily, then walked weavingly back to her trailer.
God, she loved that trailer.
She called Marissa and Kaitlin, asking them to go to dinner with her tonight, telling them she just wanted to talk. She called Kirsten and asked her out to lunch tomorrow. Then, she wrapped herself in a thick, fluffy blanket and channel-surfed, grateful to just be alive. She heated up a bag of popcorn, not thinking about the calories.
Tomorrow, she was going to make things right. She planned to apologize to Kirsten for everything she'd ever done to wrong the Cohens, and was going to start afresh with her daughters.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life.