Shifting Perspectives: The Missing Bridge

Fiction Alert

There’s no bridge here anymore.

My mom was so wrapped up in all the other things which have gone missing that she didn’t even notice the dismantling until months after the whole thing was gone, gone away.

We were walking in Prescott Park and she looked up and down and side-to-side, like she was a beagle on the scent of something, lined me and my brothers and sisters up against the waterfront, and took a bunch of pictures as we squirmed . . . and she still didn’t notice it was gone.

We walked down from the park, along the port, to what she persists in calling the “Letter ‘M'” boats–just like she did when we were still young enough for Sesame Street and Barney the dinosaur and she took every opportunity to call out letters of the alphabet.

Like her continuing tendency to call out “Moo cows!” when we pass them on a rural road, it got old before we did.

She took some pictures there on the dock, too, while we fled into the ice cream store and away from camera range.

When we were little the “Letter ‘M'”boats were sandwiched between two corroded mint-green bridges to Maine.  Now I guess it’s more of an open-faced sandwich.

When we came out of the store, cones piled with what some ironic person calls “kiddie size” scoops, she was there at the mesh fence with her camera, looking towards the water in a slightly vacant way.  But it’s not all that uncommon for her to look like that these days.

We started moving again, more slowly, because it was one of the dog days in August.   Among us we could find only one pair of sunglasses before she insisted we get out of the house, and she had those.

And then she started talking about Sherlock Holmes and I realized that at least her subconscious had concluded one of its interior conversations.

“Did you guys ever read about the dog who didn’t bark?”  She asked none of us in particular.

One sister and I mumbled “uh, huh.”  I’m not sure if my brothers were paying attention.  We waited.

“I was just thinking–you know how the bridge horn used to go off every time we were downtown?  You’d get so excited–especially you,” she nodded to my brother the engineering student.  “And we’d stop and rush over and watch the bridge go up and watch the ships go underneath . . . I haven’t heard that . . .”  She turned towards the green bridge that wasn’t there, the one that would have been to our right.

I’m pretty sure she still didn’t see what wasn’t there to see.

This is especially weird because she sees so many things that she knows aren’t here any more.  She looks at empty chairs as if my dad were in them.  She lingers and picks up, but won’t use, the glasses he used to use to drink from, plunking in a handful of ice cubes and then stirring with his pinky finger.  She keeps the books and journals he was reading on the table on the left side of their bed, including a “Killer Ken-Ken” book with a pencil tucked inside, as if he’ll be coming back to pick them up again.  I know she’s got his passport and his wallet tucked inside her bag.  I’ve seen her take them out when she thinks we’re not looking and run her finger over the laminated pictures.

She notices when a lone small-font apostrophe is abused on a sign, or when there’s a speck of a leaf peeking out from the puppy’s sharp little teeth.  Maybe what isn’t there is just too big for her sometimes.

Author: Stephanie

In her spare time, Stephanie works full-time, and then some, as an attorney. She has published articles and delivered talks in arcane fields like forensic evidentiary issues, jury instructions, and expert scientific witness preparation. She attended law school near the the banks of the Charles River and loves that dirty water; she will always think of Boston as her home. You are welcome to take a look at her Facebook author page, or follow @SMartinGlennon on Twitter and @schnitzelpond on Instagram. Bonus points for anyone who understands the Instagram handle. All content on this blog, unless otherwise attributed, is (c) 2012-2023 by Stephanie M. Glennon and should not be reproduced (in any form other than re-blogging in accordance with the wee Wordpress buttons at the bottom of each post) without the express permission of the domain holder.

8 thoughts on “Shifting Perspectives: The Missing Bridge”

  1. I wrote this in reply to another post and I believe it is appropriate to post it here. It is not fiction it is me. This is how I truly feel.

    My Obituary answer

    I misinterpreted what it means to write an obituary. If is not to be read at a funeral tell me why one should write one.

    Anyway, I have been thinking about what I would say at my funeral. I would finally get the last word.

    I died at 59 years old. I wrestled the thought of immortality for most of my live. But now, I would not accept immortality to save my life. In just these few years it is like I have been transported into the future, a future where I don’t belong.

    Everything I valued is wrong. Everything I want to own has become obsolete. People feel they have the right to change my whole life to their whims and fancy dreams not tried in the fire. How do they know it will change into pure gold?

    I have no hope for the future of say, one hundred years where everything will change beyond recognition. It is good to die.

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