Four Seconds

His stomach leaps as gravity snatches him down. It should take six seconds to travel the 184 feet to the water.

He feels the weight of the Earth pulling on him.

As it was the weight of a failed life that pushed him over the edge.

In the first second after jumping he watches the brownish water reaching up to claim him. The equation of time and distance works itself out, and his mind rebels against the idea that death was not instantaneous and now he has to regret leaping.

Before feet left earth he had a small hope someone would come along and try and stop him.

Feel bad for him.

Make him want to be human.

Give him the path to a better life.

He had heard about the cops that patrol the bridge. “Suicide cop saves another one,” was a common enough headline in the Daily News to make him think it wasn’t outside the realm of possibilities.

Another second passes and his mind works out how he got to the bridge.

“No contact,” the judge declared.

No contact with his wife. No contact with his newborn child.

So with nowhere to go he walked from the courthouse next to Yankee stadium. Maybe he came here on auto pilot. Maybe deep down in his brain he knew he had crossed the line and there was no coming back.

It only takes three seconds into his free fall to feel sorry for himself again.

It doesn’t seem fair. She hit him first. So he hit her back. Maybe the right cross followed by the stiff jab was uncalled for when compared to slap to his shoulder she delivered in the attempt to get him away from the crib. Maybe threatening to drop the baby out the window and five stories down to the street was a bit out of line.

Unemployable and with no dreams left he had had enough of the bullshit she dished out. Yes she worked everyday. Yes she held down two jobs and did some freelance stuff when time allowed. Yes it probably was depressing doing all the dishes and cooking all the food. Yeah maybe he could have done more around the house to warrant the stay-at-home-dad title he threw around like it was armor against any of her complaints.

They lost their rent controlled apartment because he got busted smoking some rock he scored from his buddy Mitch. That was three months ago though and when was she going to forgive him for it. They were forced to pack and leave. Packing things in garbage bags because boxes cost to much. They Donated the big stuff to salvation Army because they came to get it. The dishes, the old baby clothes, the bowflex, the ancient oak bed frame his parents left him when they died in a car accident six years ago.

As the fourth second of what might turn out to be the best decision he ever made for his family comes he closes his eyes and readies for the water to envelop his body in its crushing blow.

Instead though he smashes into the iron piling holding up the hundreds of tons of bridge and his miserable life is over two seconds sooner.

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Author: Bryan Aiello

I call NYC home and wish the subway went everywhere and Times Square didn't suck. I saw John Turturro once. Maybe it was him. He was wearing a yellow shirt and smiled at me like he knew I knew. I am an Army vet who writes. I like characters who want more then they deserve. I like genre fiction. I love space. I love paladins. One day I might write a paladin in space story. Just you wait. The university of South Florida spit me out with a degree in creative writing and I find myself questioning the sanity of going to a school that advertises a fake beach on its brochure ever since. I intuit grammar. I Got married in 2012 We had twins in 2015. I do a lot of cooking and dog walking and ranting about the unfairness of sentience. You can follow me on Twitter: @bryaiello Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/BryanAiello My Subreddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/Voyage_of_Roadkill/ My Reddit profile: https://www.reddit.com/user/Voyage_of_Roadkill/ Like my work? Become a patron at: https://www.patreon.com/BryanAiello

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