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Rollings jumping off a bridge in summer



It was summertime so it was okay for her to jump with all the others. The bridge was short, and it went over the river. Rollings was seventeen and wore crop tops and jean shorts and short blond hair and glasses. Her name was actually Lauren.

Rollings walked down her street and found the group of neighborhood kids peering over the guardrail and looking down into the dark brown river, rolling viscous and slow. Rollings’ mom, Mrs. Rollings, was always critical of them.

“Those tweens are gonna crack a neck one day.”

Whose neck, Rollings didn’t know. But she liked to watch. Because if jumping off that bridge meant someone’s neck was going to crack, she wanted to see it. She wanted to say that she’d been there. Say how it had affected her. She could write a college essay about it, maybe.

“You gonna jump today, Sydney?” Rollings asked. Sydney was fat and his knees looked funny in his swim trunks.

“You’ve been avoiding this all summer, Rollings,” Sydney said. She felt the eyes of thirteen fourteen year-olds looking at her.

Rollings handed her sunglasses to Sydney, saying, "Take these." She slipped stubby legs over the guardrail and straightened her spine. “Well, here I go.”

She landed on top of a boat that was going under the bridge. A feather pricked her round thigh and blood popped out. “You should really be careful next time.” The boat’s fat captain said to her.

She looked underneath her and saw a bird on the deck, its neck limp under her thigh.

This story was written by Michael Colbert, a recent graduate of Bowdoin College where he studied Italian and Spanish. He’s written his own travel blog, Misadventures with Michael, for over three years. His work has appeared in The Worcester Journal, Orion Magazine, Gravel Magazine, and Polestar, a magazine for people teaching on the JET Program in Hokkaido. Currently, he is teaching English at a high school in Japan. (https://michaelcolbertwriting.wordpress.com)
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