The Bridge Over Still Water

Photo by Reza Haji-pour

This is the story my mind told me the first time I saw this photograph. Feel free to share your own stories in the comments. 

Today was one of those exhausting, suffocatingly muggy August days that feels as if it will never end. As dusk unfolds slowly you slip down to the beach for a swim. The heat has leeched every sound from the world. Even the crickets are silent. You wonder why there are so many lights illuminating the bridge. A sudden gust of stale wind ripples over the water and the spell is ended as quickly as it began.

You’re suddenly aware of the creak of an old boat nearby. A quick tug and the rope anchoring it to shore falls away. The oar is surprisingly clammy for being exposed to such a warm night. You  briefly wonder what happened to its mate as you row to the bridge.

When you arrive at the nearest arch a small, wooden door warns, “authorized personnel only.” You enter anyways. As the door whispers shut you realize there is no alternative light source for this staircase . With one hand on each wall to steady your pace your feet count seventeen steps to the top. The light is too bright. It hurts at first.

Once your eyes have adjusted you notice a glass of iced tea, a small loaf of homemade sourdough bread and a plate drizzled with olive oil sitting on one side of the room. The bread is still warm. There is no one else there and no other exit through which someone could have slipped. As you hear the distant rush of cars travelling through the bridge you sit down and start eating. Either you’ll figure out this mystery or you won’t. Either way warm, homemade bread should never be wasted.

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