The Light At the End of the Bridge

Beth hated the rain. All it did was make things cold and wet. It put a damper on life and made everything dreary. Beth didn't need the rain to give her a bad day, however. It was already the worst day of her life.

She stood there in a limbo. It would be oh so easy to just let go. To drop from the bridge on which she clung. With the water below rested an end to all the pain and misery she felt daily. No more bruises and broken bones from when Dad came home drunk. No more being used by boys who claimed to love her. No more being teased and bullied by girls who barely knew her name. One simple leap would end it all.

Wind whipped across her face and rain came crashing down all around her like cold, silver bullets. Beth sniffled loudly and carefully wiped a shaking hand against her teary eyes. It was so cold. She began to feel numb. It reminded her of every time Stephen touched her. I love you, he would say because he knew that's what she wanted to hear. It never really meant anything to her. She had always known he was a liar. That hadn't stopped her from giving in. For a while she even tricked herself into believing. It was easier to let herself imagine that for a moment someone cared if she lived or died.

She knew better now. She even wondered how she had convinced herself that his cold, needy touch had ever been romantic. She had always imagined sex as an ultimately passionate affair between two star-crossed lovers fighting to make a place for themselves. The real thing had been nothing like that. Not during, not after. It had been bland and meaningless. A mistake. She was nothing more to Stephen then another notch on his bedpost.

A few stray bolts of lightning illuminated the sky. I'll have better chances of being hit by lightning before I even make the jump, she joked humorlessly to herself. Everyone was right, she thought, I fail at everything. I can't even make the final move. Images of laughing, taunting faces flooded her mind. Streams of tears pooled at the corners of her nose and mouth. She could taste the bitter salt. That would make them happy, she thought. If I jumped they would laugh. They would make up more names for me. It would just be another joke to them. They have no idea the things they made me do to myself. The scars along her wrists tingled as she imaged the cold, steel blade that had so often rested dangerously there. The rain drizzled to an end.

Suddenly, like a flame, determination began to burn inside her. I won't let them win, she thought. I will be strong and prove to them all that I am powerful, and that I will make something of myself. I will live my life because life is too short to let other people win, she screamed silently. After several deep breaths, Beth slowly turned herself around to face the bridge. She carefully pushed her wet, plastered hair away from her face and began to climb to the other side of the rickety railing.

A few stray drops landed on her already dripping body. She felt a relief and weightlessness as if a heavy burden had been removed from her shoulders. She took a small, hesitant step, then a big one.

Abruptly, she felt as if the ground had been pulled from underneath her. She was greeted by a loud, sharp crack as she continued to slip and finally crashed into the railing, which gave out immediately. I'm falling, she thought, I'm going to die anyway. Instinctively she reached out and grabbed onto an intact part of the railing. Though it was nearly as slick as the ground she had slipped on she miraculously managed to hang on. She regained her balance and flung herself into the middle of the bridge, away from its lethal sides just in time to see two bright lights heading towards her and hear the shriek of tires as they failed to come to a stop.