They say that every single person who jumps to their death regrets their decision by the time they have fallen halfway down. And that’s what happened to me.
I sat on the guardrail on the Golden Gate Bridge for the longest time. Exactly how much time had passed I did not know, as I had lost count after the first few hours, but the sun was low in the sky. My feet dangled off the edge, swinging freely nearly three hundred feet above the water. I did not shed a tear for myself, because I knew no one else would shed a tear for me. If I had felt emotion before, it was gone now. Now I was a husk, a shell, a carcass of my former self.
I leaned forward, feeling my weight shift, and ever so slightly pushed myself with my fingertips until gravity took over. The four second fall was agonizingly long.
As I accelerated towards the water, the wind mercilessly attacked me. My ragdoll body tumbled lifelessly, down, down, down. The roar of the wind was deafening, but it was somehow drowned out by the sound of my own heartbeat.
I continued falling, faster and faster. I saw nothing except for the wind that stung my eyes. I heard nothing except for the blood pounding in my brain. I felt nothing except for the ice cold air that somehow burned my skin.
All the emotions that had left me came rushing back at once. Fresh tears of grief sprang into my eyes, replacing those caused by the sting of the wind. I wasn’t ready. I lifted up a silent prayer to the heavens, that someone up above would hear me.
The water was a foot below me, I could feel it and I could smell it, when in an instant everything changed. It seemed as if some god had heard my prayer, and then I was saved. I was completely transformed: my entire body shrank, my legs shrivelled into claws, my arms flattened into wings, my nose and mouth stretched into a beak, and I was enrobed in sleek bronze feathers. The avian instinct of my new body took effect, and I spread my wings and flew up, away from death.
I soared above the bridge and circled it, feeling the thrill of flight for the first time. As the updrafts took me thousands of feet in the air, my spirits were lifted along with my body. From this height, the details of the bridge faded, blurry even to my newfound eagle eyes. Soon the people on the bridge were too small to see. Then the cars too shrank into nothingness. As the ground disappeared under me, I felt my worldly problems melt away.
“Why should I care about what happens below?” I thought. Everything looked so small and insignificant, as if I could hold the whole world in the palm of my hand. I knew that I didn’t have to be afraid anymore. I shouldn’t have to evade my past and dread my future. The ones who hated me, they were mortals, but I was more. I was divinely blessed by someone who cared. I had been given a second chance to rethink my choices, fix my mistakes, and move forward. I could live life, and I could love life.
I took a final look at the small earth below me and dove straight down. I quickly picked up speed in my nosedive before I opened my wings to gracefully descend upon the apex of the bridge. Directly below me I could see the spot where I had jumped a mere half hour before. And I was glad I had done it.