West Gate Jumper

Be careful what you wish for.
That’s my advice.

Robbie Dee and I were driving
city bound
when at the foot of the West Gate
the crowd slowed to a crawl.

“I fucking hate traffic,” I told him.
“Fuck it.”

We rode the bridge at 15 or 20 kms tops
why they’d slow us up at this time of night.
It was almost 9pm and
I’d spent the day wishing for a fast death
a death rushing at me like a storm wind
travelling at the speed of goodbye
just as long as I was around to see the grief and pain my loss would cause

Two lanes closed
all the way until the top
lights ablaze
three police divisional vans
one police sedan
one police emergence response unit
one ambulance
one civilian vehicle (shut down).

“Someone must have jumped,” Robbie Dee said.

Policemen stood by the edge of the bridge
like they’d seen it all before
one stared over the side
and I pictured him
looking at the water rats below
fishing out the body
further along
a policewoman, uniformed, gun strapped to the side,
standing, shoulders high, clipboard in hand
and a
West Gate Jumper
on the ledge
legs dangling.

He was wearing a singlet, blue jeans and shoes.
The wind just enough to push him side to side.

They were chatting.
His head turned slightly towards her
like you do with an old friend.
It looked as if they were talking about small things
grocery bills
news from the music charts
plans for the weekend
the latest digital SLR.

It scared me
those feet dangling down like that.

“What must have happened in his life for him to end up there?” I said.

At home I drank a beer
spoke on the phone to a woman about another woman
went for a walk
praying my death would come quickly.

I waited in the park until midnight for a knife that never came.

West Gate Jumper

Martin Lost

South Yarra, Australia

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