I sit in a restaurant, thinking about The Bridge. The fading autumn sunlight lends the Albert Dock an air of melancholy, deepening the pits and furrows in the brickwork. Tourists still point and shop and take photographs. Smart office workers negotiate the cobbled walkways with a practised hustle, while art students drift in and out of the gallery like smoke through an open window.
The waitress brings me pizza and a grapefruit juice. It reminds me of Rome. Everything was so different there – so foreign and ancient – and yet I was the same. I’m suddenly aware that my destination is still 250 miles away across the moors. Still time for The Bridge. Still time to make it across at dusk.
I pay the bill and make for the car park, stretching my legs a little before strapping myself in to this crucifix disguised as a car seat. No matter how I adjust the thing, long journeys always result in some degree of nerve damage to my lower back. I pop two paracetamol and get in, kidding myself that this time it will be fine. The pain is a fair trade for the reward. I’m a young man in the throes of true love. I’d walk there if I had to.
Sunglasses on, water, money, petrol, debit card, but most importantly, money for The Bridge toll and the Blade Runner soundtrack. The Scouse gulls cry their farewell in the crisp air as I depart.
It’s ritualistic, but when much feeling is attached to an occasion, is it not customary for all of us to drape things on it, dress it up, throw flowers and confetti at it and such?
Location: Humber Bridge
Music: Blade Runner Blues by Vangelis
There were myriad combinations of music and weather before I stumbled upon this one. It makes you feel as if you’re suspended with the stars, as if anything is possible in the presence of some vague, but powerful beauty.
The bridge itself is an incredible feat of engineering, an accomplishment of man, but there is something else that creates the rush of blood to head. Being on the road in a tin can on wheels – like everybody else in the chain of brakelights – trusting them not to make too serious an error which might result in an horrific death, is wonderfully absurd, and makes you feel as if you’re part of some illuminated cosmic caravan crawling along under the red sky.
It’s a defiant ritual for the benefit of our maker – the one who so cruelly had us born astride of the grave, as Samuel Beckett wrote. We will work together to foil the unreasonable curtailing of our lives. We’ll travel across colossal man-made structures and listen to transcendent music. We’ll eat pizza and drink grapefruit juice. We’ll comfort one another and we shall share our dreams in the hope of building them together. We’ll drive from one side of the country to the other for love, and we shall transcend our pain through the union of our bodies. Nothing will die, even when it dissolves into the tarmac, because the caravan will go on. Why is immortality so important to us anyway, when we have these attainable glories?
‘Do you want this change or not?’
I take the coins and drive forward into the illuminated geometry of The Bridge like an argonaut between the Symplegades, into a sunset laden with wonder and possibility.
Why not try some Interactive Fiction?