Charly Aldred – Story

Charly Aldred is a Western Sydney writer.

Image from our ‘Peaceful’ collection.


THE BRIDGE OF BROKEN DREAMS      

Walking past all the dirty, broken-down houses with uncut lawns to the local primary school with the high fences, made her remember her childhood and how the light used to shine brighter. She must go to the school, even if that means she must walk over the dark and gleam graffiti riddles, the sewer bridge that makes her feel small and like a child again. As she gets closer, she glances uncomfortably at the bridge. She never visits the bridge, never goes to the bridge on her own unless she must go to the school. She never thinks about him till she is at the bridge.

Every time she walks over that bridge she can’t help but to look under it, to where the trolleys full of Pepsi drink bottles and snickers wrappers and all the rain water live, where the tragedy happened, the one that causes the graffiti red heart to live under the bridge and dead flowers to always adorn the silver railing. The bridge that makes her heart skip a beat and her arms fall to her side unable to move as she thinks of the dreadful tragedy that changed her young life. She grew up, she forgot, but the bridge never did, the bridge was always going to be the place that he was lost at forever.

Never does the thought linger to visit the bridge alone, or in a premeditated way, until the day of the tragedy, some eleven years later on September 15th, 2022, she decided to walk to the home of the tragedy and visit him, think about him and breath at the last location he was. The bridge holds the tragedy in its structure, in its rubbish, in all the surroundings, in all the people that ever knew of the tragedy or of him and in everyone who witnessed the tragedy at the bridge. The bridge holds the pain she feels, even when she doesn’t feel the pain anymore.  She never thought that she would end up like this, able to understand what happened. She never thought she would be old enough to not feel like she did that day, lost in her own world, trying to figure out why bad things happen to good people.

She is near the edge of the bridge as her thoughts go to him and his last breath, letting herself be one with her loss for the first time. The tragedy happened and he is gone, he has been gone for longer than he was alive. The bridge took a life, and now that she has become one with the loss, the dark and gleam bridge feels bright and more alive.