I sat anxiously on the edge of the bridge and watched as yet another one jumped. Their body flailed limply in the air as various obscenities were screamed before they finally hit the water below. No matter how many people I saw doing it, for some reason I could not talk myself into it. My friends chided me without relent, referring frequently to part of the female anatomy. I was only ten years old when I first went down to the famous Bailey Road jumping bridge, but all my friends were a few years older and accustomed to the intimidating thirty foot plunge into the Cuyahoga River.
Being the youngest one there and the only not to have jumped, everyone felt the pressure was quite necessary. It was an initiation of sorts into the larger group that visited the bridge daily during the summer. Another person jumped past me yelling obscenities, as my trembling hands clenched the railing behind me in a death-grip.
I wondered how much longer it would be before the group grew frustrated enough to throw me off the bridge. I climbed down a little to sit on a thick pipe that ran beside the concrete edge. This offered no reassurance, for the slowly moving river still seemed as far away as ever.
My friend, Kyle, teased me with tales of deadly undertows and giant snapping turtles that were supposedly notorious at this part of the river. A large spot of oil now ran atop the water, displaying an array of rainbow colors. Despite the horrible pollution of the river and numerous signs posted prohibiting swimming in the river, I still wanted to prove that indeed I was not that specific part of the female anatomy. The next jumper, a kid I only remember as Fred,