considering they lived, by melissa chandler

Considering They Lived


on reading an article about two teenagers who jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge and survived


Did he leave a note? Did his mother find it? Did his little sister find it on the table, coming home from soccer, beelining for a snack? Did anyone read it and stop breathing in the kitchen while he fell more slowly than he’d planned, propped up by wind?

Did she leave a note? Was it folded? Tucked into a pocket of her jeans? Did she wear jeans? How did she choose? Favorite/least favorite pair? Is it true the water strips off your clothes so when they find you you’re naked as a newborn? Did the man who pulled her out feel as if he’d delivered a baby? Does he think of her now as his?

Regarding their bodies: pencil perfect, or did they clutch themselves to themselves like cannonballs, like kids jumping into pools? Did they remember being kids jumping into pools? Did the water fight to keep them or did the water fight to give them back? When fished out, were their foreheads feverish or cold as steel? Did they will themselves weight, or did their hands claw for surface? When they broke it did they breathe like they were dying or did they breathe like they were being born?

Have they met? Will they write each other about their falls? Fall in love? Will their children suffer the inheritance of invincibility? Will their children sometimes dream they can sink the way sinkable people sometimes dream they can fly? Will they dream rust orange? China blue? Will they dream sailboat shapes, wind whistles, slanted city of hills floating face down? Will their children dream of those two perfect holes in the ocean, hallowed or haunted, and are they going to have to live forever?

by Melissa Chandler

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