Urban Stories: "Suicidal"

Few times in someone’s life will that person be able to say that there are scenes in their daily routines that shocked them in such a particular way that it will remain their mind somehow.

I witnessed one event that it will be in my memory for long time. As I was going to town to meet some friends, I drove my car through one of the many bridges in London, Southwark bridge to be precise. It doesn’t have the buzzy feeling that London Bridge or other more crowded crossings have in the Capital. Therefore, an empty pavement didn’t get much of my attention as I approached the traffic lights at the entrance of the bridge from the south part of it. Then, I noticed the police cars and vans parked by the side of the cycle lane and my view extended to beyond those static images and onto the far end of the pavement where I also saw more policemen. My curiosity was a its peak, not being aware that what I was to see could have such an impact.

As I was half way through the bridge, I realised that two policemen were leaning forward over the bridge barrister as if they were talking to someone. As I got closer, I confirmed what I thought and I noticed the third person, seated, ready to jump.

A sudden shiver was noticeable in my spine. The ideas, the reasons, the rage, the loss of faith, the anxiety, the doubts, the decision, the bravery..all kind of thoughts and feelings that someone must go through before you decide to step over a bridge and sit there, looking down to the flow of water that acts as a soft mattress from the distance but it would turned into a hard killing surface on contact.

Suicide is seen by many as an act of coward, as a decision to give up. There, looking at someone about to do, many things went through my head, but not a feeling of coward behaviour. If any, incomprehension by those who happen to have a life where crisis are assimilated and life, though hard, seems bearable to a point.

Today, I can’t help seeing that image of the man with a black top being told not to do it, trying to work out how he did get there, why life pushed him to that point.

It’s all in my head, of course, but the question remains for me.

What happened to the man on the bridge?

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