To say bridges thrilled her was an understatement. Upon approaching one, she had all the markings of an impending orgasm. The kind that had the tendency to leave the mouth in an “O”.
The bridges with cable wires kissing the skies aroused in her such a welling of emotion. it was almost as if she was proud of the human race for its members who could bring forth such magnificence. If they had lights on them, she was sure she had died and been given a pass to paradise. All this even before the wheels of her Yaa Asantewa touched the beginning. Yes, there was a beginning, always a slight jog, sometimes imperceptible, from the regular road onto that of the bridge. Anyone who paid attention would notice it.
Bridges surprised her every time. She could plan ahead and know at which points in her journey she would be crossing, but somehow they always snuck up on her leaving her squealing like a child. If she didn’t have to keep both hands on the wheel she would follow this squeal with a clap of her hands to show this excitement. As it were because she valued hers and the safety of others, she kept her hands where they belonged and imagined her inner child clapping away with a twinkle in her eyes. Then she breathed in deeply and prepared herself to take it all in. Keeping her eyes on the road was difficult especially when the bridge went over a massive body of water or the the Bayou as was the case that one time she drove through Louisiana to Texas. She longed to let her eyes linger awhile. She wanted to park the car, and hold on to the rails and look down. Kick one foot up behind her and maybe switch up on which hand held the railing. All these feelings had to be quelled so she could safely cross the bridge. It never failed that she would keenly scan the sides of every bridge she had ever crossed for the pedestrian or bike path. Nope not this one, or that one either. There were only two she had crossed over that made room for foot traffic. Sadly though, for all her fascination, she had yet to make that foot journey. She had the feeling that when she did, she would carry that same sense of awe right across the breadth of it.
Bridges over land masses or bridges that were technically freeway ramps did not interest her as much. She suspected that her love for water went hand-in-hand with her love of bridges. Her love affair notwithstanding, she knew she was scared of heights deep down. She knew as her heart made its feverish journey to her belly that the strength of the water fascinated and frightened her simultaneously. The flutter in her belly warned her not to lean too close, yet her obsession tried to call her “chicken” when she hesitated. Today, in the safety of her car, she didn’t have to deal with being called “chicken.”
For her 21st birthday she gave herself the gift of an island vacation. An island that she could just drive onto. She knew that honestly speaking, somewhere in the Caribbean was where she’d really like to go but with limited income and time, she settled for this village in RI. She knew she needed to cross a bridge to get there but no one had told her there’d be two, and the second one would have lights! She couldn’t believe her good fortune. A hush fell on her as she felt the jog of the first bridge. Too bad she had arrived in the evening; she couldn’t see the water. It was pitch dark beneath the bridge even though she could feel it. She whispered thanks and blessings to Yemaya as the jog smoothed out and she sped along. Bridges really ought to have much lower speed limits she thought to herself, kinda like tunnels do. She smiled knowingly. Of course this was entirely for her own selfish reason. The jog to tip her off the bridge came and she felt the sudden sound of traffic all around her again. It was almost as though somehow land gave way to sound and water demanded silence. Twenty minutes later the dazzle of lights that belonged to the second bridge grazed along her left periphery, her heart skipped a beat. She whispered an audible hello as though it could hear her.
After nearly eighteen months of not driving, hence not going over bridges, she was being given the pleasure of two! She prepared herself for the jog. It came as this bridge rose before her. The lights mesmerized her but she had to focus to stay in her lane. This one was a bit like a soft roller coaster minus any twists; it had just the gentle rise and fall of one. She wondered if it was because it was suspended on such heavy cables and was thrice the length of the one before. Or perhaps the lights and wind made it seem as though it rose and fell. Whatever it was, she lowered the sound of her audio book narrator, opened her windows and imagined her inner child clapping away. Once through with the clapping, she began shifting her eyes in search of the pedestrian lane. Sad face. There wasn’t one. No matter! Two bridges in a day was plenty of joy for her. She was now on the island and she knew this 21st year had begun right. Bring it on? she thought.