We’re being told smoking is bad, it causes cancer, impotence and arthrit. That’s true, but exceptions happen. I don’t smoke.
There’s a wonderful bridge in Western Austria. It’s situated above the picturesque rift, there’s a small river with a stony bottom under the bridge. It is surrounded by forrest and villages, such a beautiful landscape. The height of the bridge is about 90 m, its length is 210 m.
The bridge is a local place of interest. It’s a favourite place of tourists, teens and children. But because of its outstanding design local self-murderers like it as well. There’s no possibility to stay alive after falling on the stones into the river from such a height.
Children often walk along the bridge, so local government decided to protect their tender souls and nerves from such an unpleasant scene as self-murderer’s dead body is (brains, blood, broken bones and joints etc.). The bridge was protected by metal nets along all its length. Attempting suicide there became much more difficult.
One day I was riding along the bridge in the morning and saw that one frame with the net in the center of the metal ceiling has been taken away! There was a 30-35 year old woman standing there and looking down. What should have I done? Have you ever tried to talk somebody out of committing suicide? I haven’t. Trite phrases from American movies came to my mind: that ‘everything will be alright’, ‘he’ll come back to you’, ‘you’ll find someone better soon’. But when I saw her grey face, dirty jacket and empty look, I didn’t know what to say. I just stopped my car and approached her. There was a half-empty cigarette pack on the bridge close to her. I mumbled ‘Good morning’, looking at her with melancholy. She looked at me melancholically. I asked:
-Excuse me, do you have a spare cigarette by any chance?
She silently leant and gave me the pack.
-And do you have a light?
She silently gave me the light and stared at me.
Then I was about to start a trite talk from American movies, that kinda everything will be alright, but… coughed instead.
Something relaxed in her look.
“Don’t you worry, you’re not a smoker and I’m not going to jump off the bridge. I am an engineer! Yesterday street thugs stole the net. I was asked to examine the ceiling. So I arrived here early in the morning, when there’s almost no cars here. But you’re not the only one, you’re fifth already! They ask my cigarettes and cough!” And she smiled kindly.
May there be more such ‘smokers’, I thought.
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