Dart Valley Writers U3A




Jill Treseder


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The bridge was as it had been described to her: sturdy and rustic, the wood weathered grey, with three steps leading up to it and a hand-rail on the right-hand side approaching, as she was, from the east.

So much she saw in the brief glimmer of light before heavy cloud obscured the waning moon.

The handrail was smooth and solid under her hand and her feet detected that the treads of the steps had been laid with wire netting for grip.

She stepped on to the bridge itself and paused. The moon had only allowed her a glimpse of the first few feet of the structure and now she could only make out the pale toes of her plimsolls and the ghost of her hand on the rail.

She took a firm step and listened for a reverberation, for evidence that the planks stretched ahead reliably to the far bank of the river. But the only sound was the rush and roar of water far below. There was no vibration travelling through the sole of her foot and up her leg. The bridge was too solidly built for that. She smiled in the dark at her own optimism and moved slowly forward.

It struck her that the bridge, as she was experiencing it, was not only a triumph of engineering or carpentry, but also of the mind over the senses. Her eyes had not seen the whole bridge, but her mind had a concept of bridgeness which matched the small section of evidence sent by the eyes. Her mind was confident that the bridge was complete. And another part of her mind (or was it her heart?) trusted that. But actually, it was a leap of faith, a gamble.

We take these risks every day, she told herself. The red stuff in my glass last night looked like wine, so I drank it and I didn't die. I didn't die, but Joseph did kiss me. Which might be more problematic in the long run. Does the fact that he kissed me make it more or less likely that he would send me on a mission involving a bridge that was broken in the middle?