“Nobody knows who they were: husband and wife, lovers, dear friends, colleagues, strangers thrown together at the window there at the lip of hell.” But many people saw them, two people leaping hand in hand into death’s cold embrace. Leap by Brian Doyle shows that within tragedy there is beauty. Two people falling, hand in hand. Many people saw them that day. Jumping to their death with such persistence, like they weren’t giving up, they were doing what they had to. That in knowing they were together, they were somehow alright.
Close your eyes and imagine two people falling, holding on to each other in a gesture that communicated such an “extraordinary ordinary succinct ancient naked stunning perfect simple ferocious love” for eachother. A glimpse of beauty, grace, and eloquence in the middle of terror, pain, sorrow and despair. A detail that becomes engraved in your heart, like an image chiseled into stone, into your memories. Something that keeps you awake at night, years later, staring up at a bare ceiling asking yourself so many questions that will never be answered.
Many people saw the couple jump that day. Jennifer Brickhouse saw them and Stuart Dehann saw them. They saw the glimpse of beauty within the tragedy, like a flower that, against all odds, had stayed rooted in the ground as a storm rages around it. Moments like these are rare, those who have the pleasure of seeing a moment of beauty should store them in a special place in their heart. A place where it will be cherished, where they will look when they have given up hope. Hold onto that moment, hold it tightly, like the couple grasping each other’s hand on their way to death.
Jamie Barbian is a student at Franklin Middle School.