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January, 2020

His friends are behind him as he goes hand over hand. Hand over hand, inching his way out over 395. His feet remain attached to the outer ledge of the 9th Street Expressway as he shuffles sideways, headed for the center of the bridge. The boy grips the metal bars that make up the rail as he shuffles his way through the late afternoon air. His friends lag behind, still navigating the space where the overpass’ ledge meets solid earth—the place where you can get onto the outside of the bridge and start climbing. 

He’s performing for a multitude of audiences. Drivers whiz by on the overpass he’s climbing along. He’s above another highway and in plain view of on- and off-ramps slowed by inexplicable traffic.

He continues his progress toward the center of the overpass. The cars continue their progress as well.

He disappears from rear-view mirrors. The children that were once closer than they appear become distant. The highways do what they are designed to do. They quickly move the drivers past this point. It leaves the audience with more questions than answers. Why are they doing this? Are his friends egging him on? Or urging him back? Will he be alright? 

The cars behind them will inherit the same scene, with new information and a new set of questions: How did those kids get out on the bridge? They too will move on, left wondering for the rest of the day.

Will Warren writes Scene and Heard. If you know of a location worthy of  being seen or heard, email him at wwarren@washingtoncitypaper.com.