It's A Bridge
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It's a bridge.

"It's a bridge," you say, to nobody in particular, "just a bridge." About.. yea long, eh wide, around twice your height on the inside, probably. Yeah, you're definitely looking at a bridge.

Is there anything special about this bridge? Not that you know of. After all, you're just looking at it, not scouring any records for the uncountable decades — possibly centuries — this bridge has lived for. It looks about that old, at least; pretty rustic, almost entirely made of wood, although that wood's likely been replaced a lot. That old thought experiment pops into your head, "Ship of… whatever that guy's name was, I don't know". No, absolutely not, it's too early to be ached by existentialism of that magnitude.

Although, maybe you can take it slowly — maybe this bridge has more to offer than you first thought. Centuries, that’s a long time; longer than anybody could possibly dream of living. You stop to ponder: what sights has this bridge braved throughout its existence?

Perhaps, one day, it held the honor of carrying those of the highest order. The clopping of hooves striking its delicate floorboards, the slight squeaks of the oversized wheels, the gossip of two, or more, who sat upon the carriage, suffocated in their own wealth and pride. If only for a few moments, it's possible that this bridge had borne the responsibility of aiding pure royalty across the shallow river below. You'd think that'd be quite an achievement for it, even if nobody else saw it so.

Sometime later, two young, frolicking souls found their way to the very same bridge. They smile at each other, their faces heated with something the bridge can only dream of: love. One of them pauses, a hesitant look on their face, as they reach into their left pocket. Descending onto one knee, they look up at their lover and present a small box, opening it shakily. Then, with a deep breath and a forced reconstitution of composure, they belt out four magical words, their smile returning in full glory.

Yet… the other person stares at them blankly, unsure of what to say. They love them, of course, but it all feels unnaturally surreal. They both look at each other, uneasy in the moment. "It's just too soon," and, "I don't know if I can commit," are blurted out, filling the air with a humid fog of disappointment and sorrow. They cross the rest of the way over the river, walking alongside each other with hardly a fraction of the enthusiasm they arrived with, and the bridge is left without a satisfying ending.

No better, the bridge hears the slurred and senseless hollers of a rambling drunkard stumbling towards it. They look half-dead, and they excrete a poignant stench that would support such an assumption. Their incessant shrieks garner the attention of those just looking to go on with their commute, far too agitated to stick around.

The disturbed howling is cut short, rather morbidly so. One misstep, a panicked shout, and the lingering splash from the river below. The bridge does nothing, as bridges do, despite the desperate pleas clamoring from the frigid water beneath. That must be where the beams along the side came from, it wonders.

Oh, look, another one. Not plastered, this time, but hungry, starving, even. They take a seat against the bridge's wall, around halfway down its length, and use whatever they have to cover themselves and keep warm. This poor soul, left without a proper place to rest, has decided that the bridge is their greatest chance at taking on the winter nights. They fall asleep, mostly scared, yet just barely content. Then they sleep through the morning, and the evening, and the days after.

Nobody walking past knows whether they're sleeping or dead, and they don't care.

It takes almost a week for someone to feel sorry enough — or, more likely, peeved enough — to so much as consider moving the body. Strangely, this time the bridge does not feel sorrow. It does not feel remorse. It hardly feels anything. After all, this is one of the dozens of lives it's seen be snatched away by the reaper's claws. At first, it wanted nothing more than a way to intervene with all of the misfortune it had witnessed. Now, said misfortune seemed all-to routine. Humanity, what a joke.

A big joke.

A big fucking joke.

The bridge sneers, hoping dastardly to collapse under every dainty step they take atop its decaying floorboards. Unruly, pestilent creatures — if only they could have but the tiniest glimpse through my own eyes shall they sense the cosmic agony of existing with pre-packaged purpose.

I had no desire to be built, to be aware, to see what I’ve seen. God, what I’ve seen. You don’t care, you never cared, I was nothing more than a transitory concept to you, a strip of wood and metal that serves nothing more than your own convenience. Quite literally, you’ve walked all over me, hardly giving me a single thought! It’s a bridge, you say, to nobody in particular, just a fucking bridge.

…I'm sorry, I know it's not all like that.

Believe me, with my boundless reservoir of sights and sounds, it's always the downright toxic moments that take up the most space. No amount of good seems to make up for the bad, something I'm sure you've felt, too. The aching paralysis of action from seeing Earth mold her mask into a new façade every day, each more depraved than the last. The arresting heartache that it's not just the inability to reason and construct any form of outlet, but the impassable limitations of your physical being to make any lasting change. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Congratulations, you're a bridge.

But you're not just a bridge, are you? You don't have to sit around through day and night, watching the world fall into entropy. You may not be able to make a difference on your own — I doubt anybody can — but you're not on your own, you were never on your own. Change comes from something greater than the sum of its parts, and I hope to see that change made someday.

It might just do you some good to try. Why else have you listened so intently if not to be burdened with such bountiful purpose? I'm a bridge, after all.

Just a bridge.

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