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To Live Again

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“Love, Nina.” She folded up the note and wrote ‘Mom + Dad’. Nina crept up to her mom’s room and taped it to her door.

It was 7 am on a Sunday, and in Newhall Minnesota, that meant the bridge was free of cars, and, namely, people to stop her. 

Nina walked down her street, hopefully for the last time. She gazed at the house’s lining the road. There was old Mr. Gates’s house, he always talked about the Vietnam War. The Watterman family, with the most infuriating little boys. Julie from social studies class. The house with two fluffy golden retrievers.

Nothing much exciting happened in Newhall, so Nina expected the news of her death to be front-page material. She cynically wished she’d be around to see it. “Nina Franke, 17-year-old student of Newhall High, jumps off of town bridge.” Maybe then her parents would finally give a ******

Ten minutes later, she reached the bridge. 

Nina bent down and slipped off her shoes. 

She shrugged off her cardigan. The chilly early morning air nipped at her bare arms. If she was lucky, the iciness of the river would knock her out before too much suffering ensued. Nina took a deep breath. “Goodbye Nina Franke.” She whispered, before stepping off the bridge, and plummeting to the icy abyss.

The last thing Bill expected to be on that Sunday morning, was a hero. But when he saw Nina Franke jump off the local bridge, it was exactly what happened. 

Bill was riding his bike across town when he decided to take a detour. And thank Jesus he did. He didn’t know Nina personally, but thanks to their last initial, (F and G) they were often paired for labs and partner assignments. Bill thought she was insanely pretty, but never dared to say a word, due to her boyfriend, Dustin Zander. 

Popular, a jock, and everything Bill was not. Nevertheless, the two remained friendly. Their friend groups never really crossed paths, so they rarely saw each other outside of classes. Despite all this, Bill considered Nina more than an acquaintance. Maybe that’s what made his decision so easy.

He ran down to the banks lining the river, and dove in. Through the murky water, he caught a glimpse of platinum blonde hair. It almost looked like seaweed with his green-tinged vision. He grabbed her arm and gently put his arms around her torso and swam back to the surface. He pulled her onto dry land.

“Holy ****, **** me she’s not breathing.” Bill cursed. He began to perform CPR. It was slightly foggy in his head, he learned it in 9th grade. 

After about five minutes, just as Bill started to get worried, Nina sat straight up, coughing up water. 

The first thing Nina saw when she woke up, was a boy with a halo of white behind him. Auburn strands of hair were plastered to his forehead, and freckles spread across his nose. ‘I must be in heaven.’ She thought. Then she choked, and spat up river water. 

“Are you okay?! Why did you jump off a bridge?” Bill asked incredulously. “I-… I’m not dead?” Nina’s bottom lip quivered. 

“What? No! I pulled you out of the river and gave you CPR!” Bill frowned. 

Nina burst out sobbing, and began to crawl back down to the river. Bill quickly grabbed her and pulled her back. 

“No, no! I wanna die!” Nina wailed. 

“Nina please, you have to calm down.” Bill said, stopping her from yet again trying to drown herself. Nina was in hysterics by this point. 

Finally, she went limp, crying softly in his arms. 

“You’re freezing.” Bill said softly, wishing he could warm her somehow. 

Nina’s cries softened, until they stopped completely. She was so quiet. Bill had to look down to make sure she was alive. 

After a minute, Bill asked, “So. Why did you jump?” 

“Why do you care?” Nina spat. 

He sighed. “You just spent five minutes trying to crawl back into the river where you would probably DIE in a minute. Something’s wrong.” 

“That was the plan.” Nina muttered. Bill waited. 

Nina let out a sigh. “My boyfriend broke up with me because he can’t date fat girls. No matter what I do I can’t stop obsessing over my weight, my friends left me the moment Dustin did, and my parents are just about divorced and blame me. On the grading scale, my life earns a big fat F.”

Bill was speechless. He had no idea all of those horrible things were happening behind Nina’s perfectly composed life. 

“I’m sorry.” Bill said softly. “Not your fault.” Nina sighed. “Now, could you let go of me so I can succumb to my icy demise?”

Bill chuckled. “Not a chance.” He tightened his arms around her. 

“Thought I’d give it a try.” Nina smiled ruefully. “So, what are we going to do now that you ruined my attempt?”

“I’m going to take you home.” Bill answered. 

“**** that! Weren’t you listening? My parents hate me!” Nina wriggled out of his grasp. 

“Of course I was Nina. But I don’t have a choice. If I leave you, you’ll try to drown yourself, and my parents would flip if I brought a girl home.” He ran his fingers through his damp hair frustratedly. 

Nina groaned. “None of this would be a problem if you would have let me drown.” She muttered.

Bill chose to ignore that statement, and picked up his bike. “Come on, I’ll give you a ride.” 

Nina rolled her eyes, but hops on. 

“Wrap your arms around my waist and don’t let go.” He instructed. Nina blushed but did as she was told. 

As Bill pedaled away from the bridge, Nina leaned against his back. His steady breathing soothed her frayed nerves. 

They reached her house sooner then Nina wanted. 

“Do you want me to come in with you?” Bill asked softly. Nina nodded, wringing her heads. 

She opened the door, and they entered her home. 

“Where have you been? And who is this?” Mrs. Franke asked. 

“Hi, I’m Bill.” Bill waved. Mrs. Franke nodded, then turned to Nina. “Can’t you go one day without disappointing me and your father? First you cause our marriage to fail, and now you sneak out of the house, and return soaking wet, and with a strange boy!” 

Bill was in shock. “Mrs. Franke, Nina tried to kill herself this morning. I saw her jump off the town bridge.” 

Mrs. Franke gasped, and Bill thought she was finally going to show an emotion other than anger. But he was very mistaken. 

Mrs. Franke walked up to Nina and slapped her. Nina fell to the floor. 

“How could you?! The shame you could have brought on me?! Do you ever think of anyone but yourself?” Mrs. Franke roared. 

Tears began to roll down Nina’s face. 

Bill immediately stepped in front of her. 

“Are you ******* kidding me? Your daughter tried to kill herself, and you’re talking about yourself!” Bill said angrily. “You’re a horrible mother, and you don’t deserve Nina.” His voice was ice cold, and his eyes shot daggers. 

He helped Nina up, and the two left a shocked Mrs. Franke. 

“Wow. That was certainly…something.” Nina watched Bill storm down the steps. 

“I cannot BELIEVE your mother tried to turn your suicide attempt to be about her! Honestly!” Bill exclaimed angrily. 

“I told you.” Nina smirked. 

“Change of plans, we’re going to my house.” Bill mounted his bike. 

“I thought your parents would freak if you brought a girl home.” Nina said sarcastically. 

“I am not leaving you with that woman.” Bill said seriously. “Good choice.” Nina nodded. 

“She ******* slapped you.” He muttered as she hopped on. “Yeah, she does that sometimes.”

Nina shrugged. 

Bill silently fumed as he pedaled to his house. Some people do not deserve to have kids.

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