I carefully balanced my feet on the iron railing spanning the length of the Brooklyn Bridge. I held on as I leaned out to get a good look at the East River below and out across the New York Harbor. It would be about a 120 foot drop. I wondered if the water would be cold, or if I’d feel anything when I hit. Would the shock force me to take a breath as I shot below the surface?
Suicide was nearly impossible from the Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian walkway. In order to end up in the East River, one would have to climb over the railing, walk a steel girder over the heavily traveled roadway below, and then climb through a mesh of cables to actually get to the edge in order to jump. One was more likely to fall into traffic and be hit by commuters heading out of Manhattan in the evening rush hour. It was too much of a risk and too much trouble for one to off themselves this way. It was a good thing that wasn’t what I had in mind.
I only wanted to swan dive into the East River to see what it felt like. I was hoping the rush of cool water would shock me out of my midlife blues. I hoped by coming close to death, I’d appreciate being alive. I wanted to feel again. Something. Anything but the numbness that had become my constant companion.
Tourists crowded around me. Some seemed to be watching to see if I was going to jump. A few pulled out their cell phone cameras and began snapping pictures of what they would later tell their friends was a crazy New Yorker about to take a dive. One frozen snapshot in the grand scheme of things called my life. Most of the crowd was completely unaware as they took pictures of the Harbor, with Lady Liberty in the background, or Manhattan as the sun sank low behind the skyline. Many were locals traveling the bridge as they did several times a week. They were the most oblivious.
The lights of the bridge began to glow as twilight took the city. It was my favorite time of day. As I gazed into the horizon, I felt my phone vibrate. I pulled it out of my pocket and stepped back down onto the platform.