The Bridge, by Mihir Rastogi

You awake in the middle of the ocean; but don’t worry. The water only goes up to your chest and it’s so warm you could fall right back asleep. The blue-green water reminds you of her eyes, and its beauty is only matched by the sky above. You can’t see anything in the distance, but as you turn your head, you notice a tiny little island. It’s literally a mound of sand, with a solitary, leaning palm tree. You swim up to the shore, and shake down one of the many coconuts. The tropical fruit’s sweet milk almost glides down your throat, as you look out into the striking horizon. Then you decide to leave, and fall back into the water. You drift for days, alternating between swimming and sleeping. One morning you wake up to find a large structure obstructing your view of the usually serene blueness. It’s a gigantic bridge, gleaming in metallic silver. You look from one side to the other: it seems to go on forever. The immensity of the bridge baffles you, and for a sec you’re unable to comprehend what you see. Then you come back to your senses, pick a direction, and follow it. Eventually, you reach one end, where another astonishing view greets you. A city springs up from the horizon, with towering buildings of glittering gold and silver; it’s all so alien to you, yet in some incomprehensible way, familiar, like you’ve seen it before. You get up on the shore of this much bigger island, and explore. The city is spotless and retro-modern, which shiny chrome adjoining ivy-covered brick. Normally something like this would be quite tacky, in this situation, you could not dream of a better combination. People are everywhere, and even go out of their way to you help you. With their directions, you make your way to the outskirts of the city; you come across a rolling hill covered in trees. At the top of the hill you find a scenic clearing and look out into the world. There’s the city, still glittering in the orange sky, and that bridge in the distance. A cloud of fog partially blocks your view of the bridge’s true size, but you know better. Then a thought hits you: what’s on the other side? Sure, here you are in some form of paradise, but the only thing going through your mind is this curious thought. It gnaws at the back of your head until you have to give in. You climb down the rolling hill, walk through the metropolis, all the way back to the beach you arrived on. Except this time, you make your way up the ramp and onto the bridge. Then you walk, and the journey begins. There are others too, but their presence doesn’t really affect you. Some of them collapse from hunger, or exhaustion, but you walk on. Finally, after about a week, you spot something in the distance! Spurred on by the excitement you sprint towards it. The oceanic winds rush through your ears, in a vain attempt to push you back. Nothing, however, could stop you; you’ve found what you’ve been looking for. Salvation, meaning, fulfillment; they’re all represented in by this moment. Then you reach the edge of the bridge, and almost trip over yourself trying to stop. There’s nothing; the end of the line. You peer over the edge of the bridge and see the ocean, now a menacing dark blue. The water is rough and violently smashes against the bridge’s pillars. You sit on the edge and look out into the horizon. It’s in this moment that you realize the all beauty around you the crystal blue sky, the expansiveness of the ocean…it’s all so clear now. Then you think, “If only I sat like this before.” A wave crashes against the metal support, its soothing rhythm rings in your ears as you slowly fall asleep.

-Mihir Rastogi

Featured in Vol. 1 Iss. 3
Featured in Vol. 1 Iss. 3
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