Nothing/Everything

At around 8 o’clock on Monday morning, a family friend jumped over a bridge and was struck by a train. The police ruled it as a suicide at 1PM later that day.

I’ve never met him before, but my parents knew him.

At 6pm my mom told me what had happened. Her voice trembled but she explained to me what she knew as she showed me a Washington Post article. I wish she didn’t tell me why he jumped.

The article had several updates. The first one, located at the bottom of the article, only had 3 sentences about the what, when, and where. They said that the trains will be delayed because a “trespasser” got on the tracks. My stomach did a back flip. A bone-chilling shiver went down my spine. Everything changed in the life of this man and they call him a trespasser.

There were pictures of tweets from the MTA about the incident, one with 11 retweets and 5 favorites on it.

There were also 11 comments in the article, but I knew better than to read them. I’ve been on the Internet long enough to know that it’s only going to make me feel terrible.

My mom told me that the family would most likely choose cremation for the body. My brain immediately thought that it was the best choice because an open-casket funeral viewing would probably be an awful idea. I wish that thought never went through my head.

At 10AM that morning, I stopped at the light on the intersection of 564 and Cipriano road as I head towards my friend’s place in Bowie. There were a ton of police cars right below the underpass. Yellow police tape ran along the side of the road. There were bystanders on the overpass above the train tracks, looking down through the chain-linked fence. Further down 564, traffic slowed down to a crawl once I got close to the train station. There were about 100 people just standing on the train platform, and even more people crossing the street to the 7-Eleven for food. I remember smiling a little bit as I saw some cute guy who looked angry as he stood under a tree. He was gonna be late for something and he was not happy. Now it makes me sick.

Yesterday afternoon I had to visit that same spot. I had to prove to myself that this didn’t affect me. I didn’t know him. I never saw his face. But I knew why he jumped. And with that knowledge, I wanted to know that nothing about me had changed. I drove by the section of the road where I saw the parked police cars. It was empty except for the long yellow police tape still blocking the side of the road. I wish I didn’t know why he jumped.

A train rushed by in the opposite direction.

Nothing and everything changed.