In the spring of 2007 my boyfriend Jayme and I witnessed a woman named Laurie jump off the bridge on Stewart Avenue. Less than five minutes after I hysterically called 911 the area was flooded with people: police officers, paramedics, and firefighters, and then scared and inquiring college students who came pouring out of the nearby houses. The humanity of the rescue teams struck me hard. I saw pain and fear in their faces as they looked over the bridge, their professionalism both intact and momentarily suspended hoping to see something other than a crumpled body at the bottom of the gorge. Any one of these people could have helped Laurie, but she hadn’t realized to ask. The help was there but she couldn’t feel it, and she took her life for lack of it. This chair is a brightly-colored stage set for the moments right after her body had been carefully removed and everyone in the great crowd started to walk away, numb and scared.
I am still up there in the parking lot adjacent to the bridge, crying, not seen, and my boyfriend is trying to lead me away.