Fam, when I walked to the store this morning and saw this, I couldn’t wait to get back home to post it. I even knew the hashtags I was gonna use: #SupplyRun #StrollinginSouthPas #YouAreNotAlone
And on the way back, after a now routine process of waiting outside in line to enter the store to buy what I could carry…(I went there for my prescription eyedrops and floss, but left with two bags of groceries)…I trekked back up a gradually elevating hill towards our apartment.
If you’ve been following me on IG, Fam, you know I’m a creature of habit. And even in times of a pandemic, I do the same things.
So, per my usual, I walked on the left side of the street…(I can’t tell the difference between north, south, east or west to save my life.)…and I was planning to cross to the right side to avoid waiting at the stop light, but traffic had the green light, so I had to make a choice: Wait for the light to turn red again, so I could cross or keep heading over the highway bridge where I was eventually gonna have to wait at that long ass stop light.
Well, I was tired from carrying more than I planned to buy at the store, so…deciding that taking a breather waiting at the light wouldn’t be so bad…I kept walking.
Right at this time, I saw a man step onto the cross bridge, too. In his mid-30s and walking slowly with a cane, he presented another choice for me…Should I turn back to avoid him?
Quickly, I scanned my surroundings. Traffic was light and I was walking faster than he was. I could safely dip into the street to keep a six-feet distance between us and pass him.
Confident in my choice, I readied myself to make eye contact or smile ‘hello.’ But before I could, he stopped, dropped his cane and climbed out on the other side of the bridge railing.
I didn’t know how to react at first. Was he about to jump?
As he wobbly held onto the railing “Titanic” style and leaned forward, I dropped my bags, stopped in place.
“Don’t do it! ” I screamed. “Please!!”
Face wet with tears… Eyes red from despair…He looked at me and sadly shook his head, ‘no.’
“Please, don’t. Please…” I begged him, my voice cracking. I was crying now, too.
Then, another voice rang out. A young woman’s voice. On the side of me.
“Don’t do it, man! Don’t jump!”
I looked at her. Late 20s maybe? She was stopped. In the middle of the street. In her car.
He didn’t look back at her. I took a step closer, pleaded again.
“I beg you. Please. Don’t. Do. This.”
I wasn’t getting through to him. Seeing that, too, the young woman bolted from her car and ran to the other side of him.
“Man, you don’t have to do this. We’re. Right. Here.”
She was six feet away. Just like me. And we weren’t going anywhere.
“You’re not alone,” I cried out to him. “We’re not leaving you.”
“I’m calling 9-1-1! The line is busy!” another woman’s voice rang out behind me. She was in her 40s, probably closer to my age than my good genes give away. But I don’t remember when she had somehow pulled over, too.
“Keep trying!” I shouted as I quickly looked back at the man, precariously perched on the ledge. The young woman and I locked eyes: We were losing him.
“Hey,” she said, inching closer. “Can I take your hand?”
The man looked at her, surprised. Then, scared.
“All you have to do is climb back over to the other side.”
She held out her hand, steady.
Time froze as the young woman’s hand waited in mid-air.
The man started to sob.
Then, he reached back and she grabbed his hand and pulled him over the railing.