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Poetic Interlude: The Bridge of Last Goodbyes

This poem is actually rooted in a painful memory. When I was in high school, a very good friend of mine was hit by a train and killed instantly. *Jon and I had almost the same phone number - just off by one digit - and were constantly getting wrong numbers for one another. And from that sparked a friendship, even though we were quite different. He would tease me for my teen love for Duran Duran and Hollywood heartthrobs, and secretly I loved that he introduced me to different music and "art" movies. Even though his punk/Emo look at the time seemed so dark and unwelcoming, he truly had a fun and loving soul.

We both loved drama and performed in several high school plays together. In fact, it was during the after party for one of those plays, while I was wondering for hours where he was, we learned of his tragic death. Friends say he was trying to beat the train across the tracks, but I have always wondered about the notes of sadness and darkness that often were revealed in conversations. I'll never know if it was the heart breaking consequence of a poor choice, or a deliberate gesture. I still remember running out of the house into the cold, dark night, his voice from only a few hours prior still in my ears - because of course someone had mixed up our numbers again and called me to get *Jon - and finding myself at our bridge near the tracks. The very bridge where he promised me just a few hours earlier that he come to celebrate with his fellow performers. I remember the phone ringing as I left my house later, assuming it was a wrong number again. To this day I wonder if it was perhaps Jon calling to laugh about the latest wrong dial.

I wish I had known that moment of parting under the bridge, would be our last good-bye.

The Bridge of Last Goodbyes ⁣

Remember that late night,⁣

when I walked out of the world?⁣

Into any wind that blew; under any sky to witness me losing my way⁣

Seeking shelter beneath the bridge of last goodbyes… ⁣

What slow, soft memories the river made, ⁣

while it’s coolness tickled our toes, ⁣

and your voice bent it’s soft keys upon the humid air; ⁣

A scattered harmony cut from woe ⁣

I am damp with these memories ⁣

Of seeking light within a broken promise -⁣

and knowing this twilight will die; ⁣

though such days never seem to end ⁣

How long have I stood angry in the rain, ⁣

poking my muddy thoughts⁣

All the years that fly by, but the heart remains in the same place ⁣

And somewhere a phone is ringing - unanswered ⁣

As I was walking out of the world,⁣

lost in these memories of water. ⁣

It's been over thirty years and I still feel the loss - perhaps because we were so young. It was my first experience with a death of someone my own age. This poem has been years in the making; the one that never seemed quite right. It evolved through grief, anger, sadness, denial, acceptance, and finally the memory overcame the wound.

I don't think Time heals all. I think it just gives us the space we need to allow ourselves to complete the journey. And the journey takes as long as it takes, and goes where it goes; we just need to have the willingness to follow.

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