The only difference between martyrdom and suicide is press coverage
I watched a man die today.
Last night I was rubbing elbows with rock stars and this morning I bore witness to death. If this is what city living is like then I'm not sure I want to be living in the fast lane. I don't know if you've ever seen someone die, I know I never had, but it was the most horrific experience of my life to date. I'm still not over it.
It would have been cinematic, picturesque, artsy, ironic even, if it had not been a real man giving up on his very real life. A solitary figure in a business suit standing out against a backdrop of morning sunlight on skyscrapers, angrily tossing his cell phone into the still green Chicago River, and then jumping from the bridge down into the water.
I wonder what he was thinking in that minute when he was treading in place. Was he reconsidering his actions? Or was he reliving every awful memory that had driven him to this, reaffirming this decision, this crime? Whatever it was, the lungfuls of water he purposely started gulping down spoke louder than words his willingness to die.
Today was just another day, a continuation of my fairly mundane life, yet today was the day a man decided to end his. I can't close my eyes without seeing that splash and I can't let my mind wander without remembering that horrible feeling that settled in the pit of my stomach when the rescue boat came but the man never came back up.
I don't understand and I'm not sure I ever entirely will.