Fair warning: today's post is a bit darker than our usual fare. Be careful. Staff writer Chris Wrenn for #FF.
We want to encourage people to follow the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and there is a reason, other than the great work that they do.
This week something happened.
Besides writing for Night & Day Studios, I teach writing classes at a regional college; I bike to work and it’s a long commute. On Wednesday, the weather here in Portland was terrible — it was cold with wind gusts up to fifty miles per hour. My commute is 17 miles; it takes me about an hour and a half, and to be honest, I spent the whole trip that day complaining to myself about the weather. There were several points when I had to get off of my bike because the wind was knocking me over. I kept my head down, my feet on the pedals when I could, and I grouched in my mind.
Near campus I ride up an overpass, a short bridge that crosses Interstate 5, and something caught my eye. There was a woman straddling the railing. I stopped my bike and asked her to please come over to the sidewalk, but she cried out, “Nobody loves me,” and crossed over to the ledge of the bridge. She was a middle-aged woman, well dressed in a heavy canvas coat, jeans, and nice boots. It was clear she had been crying and drinking.
I talked to her for about five minutes as cars whizzed by beside and below us. People honked their horns, but no one stopped. Finally, I offered her a cigarette before she jumped, one last pleasure of the flesh; she accepted and allowed me to approach.
When I got near enough to hand her the smoke, I grabbed her by the underside of her arms and pulled her on top of me to the sidewalk, then held her as I called 911. As we waited for the police to arrive she slumped over and cried in my arms, and even though I don’t know it’s true, I told her everything would be okay. I never learned her name and she doesn’t know mine, but I can’t stop thinking about her.
Here at Night & Day Studios, we spend a lot of time encouraging people to play games on their devices, but we also recognize the importance of looking up, of seeing the world around us. That’s why Nat writes about board games to play along with your child, and it’s why we take time each week to step away from our work, however busy we are, and just hang out together in the office. People matter, and AFSP’s Twitter account links to great articles and stories that help us understand what gets a woman to that bridge and what we can do to keep her from that place.