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The Bridge

Alli Benthien '23

          A few weeks ago, in a small town on a small island, two men died.

          Mid-August, heat wave, meteor shower, high tide. At the bridge that day, small crowds gathered under the sun, climbed onto the wooden rail, and jumped, one by one, into the sparkling saltwater. Laughter, sunscreen, wet hair, distant sailboats. It’s a tradition to brave that jump off the Jaws bridge. It’s iconic. Children do it. Everyone does it.

          That night, there was a supermoon. It loomed, yellow like the sand below, lighting up the evening, obscuring some of the meteors that tried to make an appearance. That night, two brothers, 21 and 26, decided to jump into the midnight blue ocean. An easy jump for grown men. Children do it. Everyone does it. I wonder if anyone heard them break the water’s choppy surface. I wonder if the yellow moon saw it all happen. How long did they fight the waves? 21 hours, or 26 seconds.

          I woke up the next morning and saw the breaking news. They found a body, the other was still missing. Two brothers, dead. A tragic story on a fairytale island. The article told what little of their story they could piece together. They were from Jamaica, working here for the summer. Maybe they were drunk that night. Who can say definitively. Who would even want to.

          The next day, I passed by the bridge in the back of my dad’s dusty black truck. It probably needs a new transmission, but we’ll worry about that later. I had an image in my head of yellow tape and desertion. Instead, colorful swimsuits, trampled bouquets, adrenaline. At least a few people thought to honor them, to remember for a few hours. I wonder if the last night’s events made the jump seem more exciting to those reappearing crowds.

          Did anyone see their shadows floating beneath the water? Did their faces reflect in their mirrored sunglasses? Was any of it real? How can anyone enjoy another person’s cause of death. Can the human brain really absorb information, process it, then compartmentalize in such a short amount of time? These are the thoughts that filled my mind as I looked out the window at those distant beachgoers. Mid-August, two new stars in the sky.

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Art by Serena Kim '23
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