Forgetting On the Brooklyn Bridge by Margaret Chirdo

Start on the Brooklyn side. I know, you will miss out on captioning your pictures with “No sleep til Brooklyn!” But bear with me. Start on the Brooklyn side, and trek towards those famous Manhattan skyscrapers. Stay out of the bike lane. This warning will prove impossible to consistently heed, as you will be too busy looking up to check your footing. In between admiring the sparkling East River and getting yelled at by bikers, remember to keep up with your group, or if you are alone, with the general flow of traffic. Forget everything else. This will be easy.

Clutch the railing and stare into the traffic beneath you. Forget that assignment due Monday. Listen to the remarks of fellow bridge-goers:

“Jimmy, smile!”

“I wonder if anyone has ever jumped…”

“Wanna grab coffee when we get back?”

Forget that you are just another part of the crowd. Forget that today is not special just because it’s your first time on the bridge. Take pictures for a young couple. Take pictures for a family. Take pictures for your scrapbook. Forget that you miss your significant other, forget that you miss your family. Forget that you don’t scrapbook. Cross the center of the bridge, let your eyes travel along the connecting wires, leading to the grandest arches imaginable, and appreciate the beauty in all this necessary construction. Forget all those that perished in creating such beauty. Walk the rest of the path as if this is a common occurrence. As if you are a regular New Yorker, as if you cross the Brooklyn Bridge on your way to work each morning. Forget that you don’t always need to look knowledgeable and aloof. Play it up, just this once.

Forget everyone that said your dreams were cliché. Forget those who dare call any dreams ‘cliché’. Forget that you are on your own for the first time and forget that you haven’t decided if this is a good thing or not. Forget doubting yourself, your future. Forget the one thousand six hundred and fifty-six miles between here and your comfort zone. Reach the end of the bridge, look back, forget tales of pillars of salt.

Remember only exactly how you felt in this moment. This fleeting journey. Remember only the slightest warmth on your shoulders from a dying sun, the smile that forced its way past your cool demeanor, the view you had previously only seen on postcards and computer screens. Remember that you made it here, despite every obstacle, every naysayer, every self-doubt. Remember this.

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