By Aja Gabel
Featured Art: Paris Bridge by Arthur B. Carles
Six days after my father dies, seven blind masseurs hold hands and leap from the Han River Bridge in downtown Seoul, into the shallow water beneath the lighted apex, their bodies a disruption in a mirror they’d never seen. I read about this in the newspaper I collect from the front of my father’s house, all damp and bleeding ink from the past week’s frost. In my father’s office I spread the papers out on his desk and trace my fingers down the pages, to see if I’ve missed anything. I’m looking for murders, plane crashes, natural disasters, economic collapse, impending apocalypse. I stop at the society pages, the comics, the crosswords. For several minutes I consider an eight-letter word for “felicity.” The only answer I can come up with is, “felicity.” Sometimes it happens that way.
The Korean masseurs’ story catches my eye because they have a large color picture of the bridge. It must be one of those time-lapse photos, where the car lights ghost into a gold blur and the surface of the river is steely and reflective. Four vaulted columns rise from the river and hold a statue of a torch, under which I imagine the masseurs must have jumped. How could they have jumped from anywhere else on that bridge? But then, how would they know? How would they know that that was the center? Did they feel the wind die down under the canopy? Did they hear it slice through the steel cables? Did a sighted woman lead them there and say here, here is where you would jump if you were going to jump, not that you are, and then they laughed, and took off their glasses, wiped their eyes of sleep, or of drink, said thank you, you’re kind, leave us now, we just want for a moment to enjoy the view.