Crack the Spine Issue 96 - Page 10

“Do you feel suicidal?” “No,” I chuckled. “I don’t have that much courage.” Bridges attract suicides. Most people die from the trauma of impact. They free fall for several seconds into the blue oblivion before their bodies collide with the water at approximately seventy-five miles per hour. The coroner can approximate the angle at which the body hits the water by the injuries. A few jumpers outlive the drop. They usually die from hypothermia or drowning. I remember this much about my second meeting. The breakout groups had gathered for the closing. People sat in cockeyed rows of folding chairs and leaned against dusty walls. They stood in the doorway and spilled out into the basement hallway of the church which had donated space to help them remember. Most were sober. Some were not—able to face their memories. Crumpled one-dollar bills and loose change filled a basket like you might put candy in for trick-ortreaters. Cigarette smoke escaped through the opened transom windows which were supposed to let in the September air, hot and close even at 9:00 p.m. Ellie rubbed my back. Missy held a tray of plastic poker chips and passed each token in front of her like the Eucharist. I pushed my chair back to give my legs room. I understand what Stevie Smith means by “not waving, but drowning.” In the sixth grade, I got knee-collapsing sloshed in my neighbor’s darkened living room, a pair of scissors in one hand, a bottle of Boone’s Farm in the other—a short cut