By Susan Sage
Cade stopped short on the path taking in the scene before him. A young woman stood on the outside of the bridge gripping the rail. She took a quarter-turn at a time until she faced the water.
He could see the spray from the river hit her legs as liquid crashed over the uneven terrain below.
She stood looking at the water, then lifted her head toward the gorge.
“I wish you wouldn’t.”
She flinched and grasped for a tighter grip of the wood rail behind her.
“Who are you? I didn’t hear you,” she said not turning her head.
“My name’s Cade. I really wish you wouldn’t jump.
“What does it matter to you? What does it matter to anyone and before you try to tell me someone will miss me … don’t because no one will. I don’t have anyone. Not anymore.”
“No, you don’t. You don’t even know me.”
“I still care. What’s your name?” While Cade spoke, he made slow movements toward the young woman balancing on the small ledge. The wind began to cause the bridge to vibrate. He breathed a prayer of thanks thinking with the vibration, she might not sense his forward movements.
“My name doesn’t matter. Just leave me alone.”
“Your name does matter and I can’t do that.”
“Why? Just go away.”
“Nope. See, if you jump, I’m coming in after you.”
She turned her head slightly toward Cade then back to the river.
“You’ll die. No one survives who jumps from here.”
“I know. Is that why you chose this spot, cause you know you won’t make it?”
Cade saw an almost imperceptible nod.
“I don’t know why you want to die,” Cade took another step toward her, “but I want to help.”
“Help me by going away.”
In the distance, the echo of sirens broke through the sound of the crashing waves below them.
She turned her head quickly to Cade then back to the river again.
“You called the police?”
“Then how …. Why …”
“I don’t know but I didn’t. This bridge is on my running trail.”
When she looked back toward the water, Cade took another step toward her.
“Why did you have to come? You don’t understand.”
“Then tell me. I’m listening. Please tell me your name.”
“It doesn’t matter.” She lifted her shoulders then whispered. “My name’s Aubrey and I’m going to die anyway, if not now then in a few months.”
“What do you mean?”
“I have cancer.” Aubrey released one hand and wiped her face with her sleeve. “I watched my mother die from it. My brother just died six months ago because of it. I won’t go through what they did.”
“Cancer is awful. I’m sorry.” Cade drew in a ragged breath. “What kind?”
“What kind of cancer?”
“Does it matter?”
“Yes. How long ago did you find out?” Cade took another careful step toward Aubrey. He now stood a couple of feet from her.
“Where is it?”
“I have a tumor in my leg.”
He made another purposeful movement. One more and he could reach her. God, help me here.
“Aubrey, I know you’re afraid. I understand the kind of fear you’re facing. But this isn’t the answer.”
“What do you know about what I’m feeling?”
With a quick movement, he lunged toward her, wrapped his arm around her waist and with a twist, lifted her up and over the rail. They both dropped down to the bridge floor.
“Why did you do that?” Aubrey cried out as she turned and began hitting Cade.
He grasped her hands. “Look at me, Aubrey?”
She kept shaking her head and crying. “Why couldn’t you just leave me alone.”
“Aubrey. Look at me.”
She opened her eyes and looked at Cade’s face, down his arms and legs and back to his face her eyes growing larger.
“Your leg …”
“Three years ago, I stood right where you were, Aubrey. I wanted to end my life. I had tumors in both legs.”
She glanced down at his legs again. “But …”
“I lost one but not the other. Now I run. I play ball. I even ride a bike.”
“You didn’t jump.”
“No, God sent someone to talk me off the bridge. When I saw you, I knew He’d sent me to do the same for you. I’ll be there for you just like he was for me.”
A police car drove to the edge of the bridge as an ambulance pulled behind it.
“How about we get some help so we can start this road together.” Cade stood up and reached his hand out. Aubrey put her hand in his and let him pull her up. Together they walked toward a different future where Aubrey would not be alone.
About the Author
New to north Idaho, Susan Sage and her husband are enjoying getting to know the new area. She continues to work on her craft writing about God’s purpose and sovereignty in all aspects of life. She enjoys writing devotionals and flash fiction. She enjoys mentoring other writers who are new to the craft.
You can find her on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and on her website.
You can read Susan's flash fiction column on the 2nd Thursday each month here at Pandora's Box Gazette.