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The Bridge Builder’s Son

Stood 800 feet overlooking the River Tees on the peak of the Transporter Bridge. A closeness beyond life. A moment of pure clarity as to why he was standing transfixed, arms outstretched in a christ-like crucifixion pose. Inhale, deep breath, the chill plummeted into his masculine chest like a thousand razor blades degrading all the shivering resilience he was able to muster.

Exhale, warm breath evaporates from his lips to be lost in the orbiting world of colliding satellites, which sail haphazardly above him in the north sky and its carpet of stars. The perplexed matrix of lights from homes, industrial estates, office blocks and shopping centres surrounded his landscape. Flickering dots, the headlights of cars cascading through the urban, barren streets of Teesside.

Below him, the industrial nightshift belches out its obnoxious clouds of smoke and flames, a dancing pyre cavorting with the rhythm that will soon be daylight. Silence, only broken by a gentle breeze, which swirls between the ribs of the bridge and his hair. This bridge is a testimony to resistance, her untouched remorse formed by the regrets of pitted souls belonging to the hardest of men who laboured to bring her to birth.

Unlike the lives, she once touched she bares no consequence of time but static she remains. Once she stood amongst the toils of labour. Now she casts a deep shadow over the sterile conformities of carparks, shopping centres and cheap alcohol redemptions, which paper cracks with little sincerity.

Intimating primal childhood fears, a mesmerising steel monster sitting alongside the insecurities of her riverbanks, weeping with remorse. The empty streets, industrial units and vacant pubs where the ghosts of landlords celebrate the wages of lost generations. Scaling the bridge every step recoiled in memory for his father now missed. A bond rooted in love and the gentleness that had guided him from boy too man. Perched on top, the river flows like black blood below him. Unzipping his backpack, removing the canister secured inside. Closing eyes, he whispers words, “I love you, dad.” His father’s ashes drift downwards in the open sky and into the black blooded river. There to be washed out and to return on the evening tide where the Bridge Builder will wait for his son.

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