Sunday, Jun. 12, 2022
There is this path I take in my mind, seven years of treading this trail has made the walk familiar. I was absent for this event, dropping my son off at preschool that morning, just like he had done, only upon returning home, I was the one asked to sit down.
I have to piece together what happened. There was a heavily redacted police report and eventually returned, his locked cell phone.
I obsessively turn the events over in my head, trying to come to the most delicate ending. Trying to convince myself that it was quick. He was my brother and I try to find a route where he didn't suffer, but I am not as dim as that, and know I am just trying to make myself feel better.
1. My brother tosses himself off the Mount Hope Bridge. As he falls, I see the pants of his brown suit laid flat, clutching to his thin legs as the cuffs scramble wildly as if caught in a tethered escape. The suit, his only suit (we have to find something else to bury him in) flaps in the March wind. Maybe he fell with both arms splayed, but more likely his long hands covered his face, done in protection from the inevitable contact with the surface of the Bay. The act, I imagine was something like absent mindedly walking in front of a speeding car or the bodily movement following the spitting out a grevious comment during an argument.
2. Or maybe he casually walked across the lane of oncoming traffic, stopped, placed his hand down on the cold barrier and hoisted himself over the 35 inch rail, after leaving his car's hazard lights flashing. The blinking, a warning to others, or a calling of attention to the last beats of his time as he judges his balance against the March winds. A middle aged man with a wispy beard dressed in a second hand suit perched on the dividing line of Bristol and Portsmouth, taking care not to slip too quickly over the the edge. To the only bystander (name redacted in the police report) this was a transitional pause.
Brother, if you were wondering, it was the Portsmouth side of the bay where they found what was left of you.
3. Or maybe your final act was like negotiating a curb. Leaving both hands in the pockets of your suit jacket, the right one clutching an explanation that would ultimately turn back to pulp and pigment in the seawater.
The Camel Lights you left in the arm rest compartment of that shit-box gold Mazda had gone stale by the time I got to the tow yard. I noticed you took the book of paper matches with you.
Your fall was 135 feet and took a little more than 6 seconds. I have done the math, sitting alone at the kitchen table with a freshly sharpened Dixon pencil and the back of an used envelope.
The trip bested you, as you wished it would. The impact was strong enough to render you unconscious and perhaps causing your internal organs to hemorrhage. There was a good chance that your liver and spleen may have cracked and begun to bleed out, but the fall was not enough to kill you outright.
That is a complicated statement, and I am not sure how I feel about it.
It is likely that you bounced, settled on the waves, began to drift with the current and then ultimately drowned.
It is likely you were unable to rouse a last attempt at escape from the cold water as it took your name even if you wanted to call a redo.
When the boat fished your body from the Narragansett Bay, maybe not fish, as that connotes pulling something from a living pile or group, and that was certainly not the case here. Maybe recovered is more suitable verb. In the end, the funeral director would leave the casket lid closed.
If I could have been there, at the bridge that morning, I would have made you take pause, placing my hands to your beautiful Italian face, and told you something like this.
I am sorry that our fool parents hedged a bet on you, and all the white lies they told to each other about bringing you into this world only turned out to be mastic. If you had been mine, I would have kept you like gold. I am sorry you were a mistake, the tactile dissolve of the lie of communion.
I would have explained that our family was the keepers of everything, but also the tenders of nothing.