Nearly every time I pass under an overpass on a freeway, I imagine someone has hurled their body over the bridge and will land on my windshield. Their terrified face only separated from mine by my windshield. Head cracked, blood beginning to pour, instantly pulled down and under my vehicle, a crumpled body in my rear view mirror, hit again by the person behind me.
I know it happens. I know there are people out there that have had this experience. I’ve heard about the first responders. My step dad was one of them. Several calls he made were of this very incident. Or a homeless person, mentally unstable, wandering into the middle of the freeway only to get pummeled by car after car. And the cars never stop. Unsure of what has just happened, they press forward. Surely it’s their imagination, there’s no way that could have been real.
But the day it happens to me, I will know exactly what has happened because I have been expecting it to happen for so long.
Maybe it’s because suicide is extremely real to me. My grandfather hung himself in his garage when I was thirteen. Or perhaps it’s because I’ve been told such gruesome tales since I was a pretty small kid. It was just part of my parents jobs. My mom was an ER nurse. My step dad was a fireman. My obsessive tendencies couldn’t have helped either. Nightmares as a kid included a lot of juxtaposed scenarios. The re-occuring dream that haunted me for years took place in a big play room for kids, made of pink cotton candy. We’re all jumping and laughing, in slow motion, children’s laughter echoing throughout. And suddenly, one piercing gun shot comes from out of sight. It’s over for all of us.
I lived in Seattle for five years. The Aurora Bridge is the second most common bridge for people to commit suicide from. I stumbled upon this article a few years ago and became obsessed. I drove over this bridge every day. I lived only a few hundred feet from it. I was most likely home when that girl jumped. The thing I still hold onto is that the people working at the office building facing the bridge had to close their blinds because they couldn’t stand to see people jumping anymore. Several times I found myself talking to police officers patroling the shores because someone had jumped within hours before.
Perhaps because of these images being so real to me, and maybe because I get fixated on the horror of them, Halloween does not strike me as something fun to celebrate. It’s stressful and only adds to the library of horrific incidents that play over and over in my mind. But somehow the general public really enjoys being scared and being involved in terrifying each other.