I don’t want this to happen. I can’t tell down from up; up from down. Darkness surrounds me, the weight of it pressing hard on my chest. But darkness has no weight… It’s water! Immediately, I suppress the breath I was about to take. I have to get out – now. But which way to go?
A faint glimmer eases my panic. It appears to be below me, but clutching my faith, I approach it. Fear, the weight of the water, and my desperate need to breathe inhibit me. I don’t have much time. Thankfully, as I struggle toward the lighted area, it grows wider and brighter. Suddenly my head and shoulders break the surface. I draw a ragged, painful breath. Then another, and another. I see my guiding light. It’s a lamppost on The River Walk. Slowly, I make my way toward it. At last, I cast myself onto the rocky bank beneath the promenade. Good thing I’m a strong swimmer. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have made it.
I try to rest, but noise from above disturbs me. I look up to the bridge and see that a crowd surrounds the trunk of a car that has breached the railing. It now hangs vicariously by only its rear wheels. Both front doors are open. Ray frantically screams my name, and then I see him toward the front of the crowd. Some of the people are holding him back from the edge. I remember now…
In the inside lane but driving far too fast, Ray raced to the rehearsal dinner for Lon and Gail. He hadn’t believed me when I read the directions from Gail’s TM, so I showed him my phone. He took his eyes off the road for barely a second. The car careened off the center divide, crossed the traffic lanes, hit the side of the bridge and smashed through the railing. The seatbelts saved us both. Ray undid his and quickly climbed out of the car. He reached back for me, calling for me to hurry. I unbuckled my seatbelt, crossed over the console to the driver’s seat, and grabbed his outstretched hand. But the car lurched away from him. He lost his hold and I slid back. He called for me again and I tried to cross the console again, but my foot hit something on the door and it flew open. I scrambled to stay on the seat, but couldn’t find a handhold. Ray’s hand was barely an inch too far away. Gravity won. I slid down through the door and fell into the water.
Wow. I fell a long way. Automatically, I reach into my front pocket for my phone. But of course it isn’t there. I can’t text Ray that I’m okay. He’s still pulling away from those who are holding him, trying to jump into the river after me. I have to stop him.
Suddenly among the crowd, I am still too spent to attract his attention. I fight my way to his side and touch my hand to his cheek. Gradually, he stops trying to jump over the bridge railing, and instead, turns and sinks down in front of it, his head in his hands. I sit down beside him and hug him close to me. I’ll stay with him; comfort him until he’s ready to see me. Once his mind is at ease, I can rest.