As we approached the stretch of road marked off by police cars & flashing lights, I assumed the commotion was related to a traffic violation. Neither she nor I were prepared for the sight we witnessed as cars were directed around the gruesome scene.
In the middle of the road lay a body; one covered mostly in yellow tarp, but with two booted limbs extended, and in plain view. It took only seconds to realize this individual had jumped from the bridge high above, forfeiting in mere seconds the life that once was.
I actually gasped as it registered to me what it was that I was seeing. My audible utterances or, rather, exclamations were, "Oh, dear God!", and "Mercy!". The words seemed to flow without summons.
My inaudible thoughts immediately began questioning: Why? How desperate must one be to commit so desperate an act?
For the remainder of the day, and periodically throughout the week, those booted feet and the man they represent showed up in my thoughts. In some mournful way I have been saddened by his passing; appalled at the depths of his desperation. I have grieved for him, and I have wondered if there were others - a mother, father, sister, wife, friend - now grieving even deeper than I can imagine. I've wondered if anyone cared at all.
I've searched the news for details ... a name, an age, a circumstance; the back story. All I could find was a brief caption, one that read simply: "Yakima Avenue Bridge Death Apparently a Suicide". The brevity of the report brings a new round of tears.
How can a life - even one life - get by us like this?
I know, I know, there are myriad reasons ... perhaps drugs are involved ... likely years of counsel & family love have been offered ... possibly mental illness had set in ...
Today, not one explanation matters. Since Tuesday the world lost a bit of it's luster when the booted man no longer walked it.
Most men lead lives of quiet desperation
and go to the grave with the song still in them.
Henry David Thoreau