Bad Manners


Carol jumped off this bridge. She held a bag of groceries as she did it. It was foggy, like tonight, and she ended up airborne before she’d gotten over water. That’s how I know about the groceries. The morning found her surrounded by broken squash and a box of melted popsicles. The receipt was in her pocket.

It’s not a method I recommend. The acceleration must be thrilling, but the sidewalk has its problems. Better to find one of those scenic canyons the base jumpers use or a cliff beside the ocean—someplace that won’t need to be pressure-washed. It’s inconsiderate of the people who clean up after.

Same thing with Hemingway and Plath—full of despair and, apparently, bad manners.

I doubt Carol bothered calling the 800 number I keep finding on the signs. She was averse to confiding in strangers. She would have felt bad for making the operator think he’d failed her. At least there’s that.

The police found Carol’s car in the Food Lion parking lot. She must have walked from the cashier to the bridge without dropping off her bag. She was not one to litter so she took it with her over the railing.

Like the rest of them, she didn’t think ahead.

The suicides accumulate. They are discovered in garages and underneath bridges and beside their fathers’ guns. Somebody always cleans them up. Somebody turns off the car and cracks a window. Somebody makes sure to keep the children back.  

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