The Bridge (2006) Movie Script

- It was sort of a weird day.
The wind was lightish,
and I was just kitin' there.
I cut over to the south
tower and some stuff fell
so I cut back the other way and
I just saw a mass falling towards my kite
and I thought it was the same thing,
and so I turned the kite back
and then I looked over
and, you know, before they hit,
I realized it was a
person that had jumped.
So then I cut over just to see
or maybe possibly help.
The current just sucked them under
and I stayed in the tide because I knew
that the Coast Guard would come and
that's when it became more
of a surreal experience to me
because I've seen that Coast
Guard boat a million times
and they've helped us out and rescued us
when we have problems,
but they're all wearing
the white hazmat suits
and that's when I realize that
there was definitely a person in.
- I never knew the real
scale of the problem.
I don't know, the whole
thing is crazy to me.
I mean, I just don't even understand it.
- When I was riding back after that time,
I was thinking about how
that person was at the lowest of the low
of their life obviously
and how the whole day
all I could think about,
it's gonna be a good day
to go out and kite and
pack my passions for it
and here at the same time, you know,
I'm reaching for what I love to do
and this person's ending their life
so that was unreal.
- Yeah, exactly, kiting is, to me,
a real celebration of life.
It's exhilarating, it's thrilling,
it's just awesome.
So it's a real juxtaposition of
celebration of life and ending of life.
# Quiet
# It's neither heaven nor space
# It's just high
# And the ring around the moon
# Looks like light and love #
- It was one of those
epic days in San Francisco
driving across the Golden Gate Bridge.
It was crystal clear.
The day was calm.
There were tourists
walking across the bridge
and usually on those types of days
I always soak in the beauty of the bay
and look over to Alcatraz,
and on that particular day
I looked over, I was
probably a little bit more
than mid-span when I saw
this gentleman on the railings,
and at first glance, I thought,
wow, this guy looks like
he's gonna bungee jump
because of the way that
he was standing on the railing and then
common sense kicked in and said you can't.
My thoughts were you
couldn't jump off the bridge,
bungee jump off the bridge,
and then he just kind of held his arms out
and disappeared and I wasn't sure if
I was imagining this and so
I drove for a few seconds
and looked in my review mirror
and my heart rate went up and I almost
felt like I wanted to start crying because
I thought to myself, wow, I
might be one of the last people
that have ever seen this person alive.
When I went into the tower
and I talked to the highway patrolmen,
you know, I asked him blatantly, I said,
"Is this a rare occurrence
"or does this happen often?"
And he looked at me and kinda smiled
and just said, "It
happens it all the time."
- It's hard to define Gene as a person.
He was
just not of this world,
I think is really the truth of it.
Not of this world as we know it.
His mother was woman who said,
"Oh, I never want children,"
and then a few years later,
she found herself pregnant
and decided
to have the child
rather than leave the
country for an alternative
and she was looking forward to it
and so came my friend Gene,
who was always referred to
as my little brother, Thump.
He was born an old man.
And all their lives it
was just the two of them,
pretty much.
People came and went in their lives
in relationships of various sorts, but
it was mostly just always the two of them,
dependent on each other for
that stability that
one thinks of as tomorrow is coming
and we will do this and we will do that.
- Growing up
with Lisa in Marin,
she was just, like, completely normal
until she was like 14.
- 14.
- Yeah, and I'm four years older
and I moved away, I lived in Alaska,
and my mom would write me and say,
"Hey, Lisa's acting strange
"and doing this things,"
and I kept telling her it was
typical teenage stuff
and I came back, like,
10 months later.
There was a big change.
- Our upbringing
was fabulous, I would say, until my father
suddenly died when I was 14.
- Well, that was a shock.
That threw all three of us,
but it didn't make Jeff
and I mentally ill,
but Lisa had different personality.
She wasn't as outgoing as my brother or I,
and she was just--
- She was more angelic.
We went through all the counselors
and finally got her to
go to a psychiatrist,
and he said that Lisa is
a paranoid schizophrenic
and she will never recover.
That was a terrible
thing to tell a mother.
He says, "You have to take her right now
"to the crisis center at Marin General."
She immediately, when we got there,
got on the payphone and
started calling her friends
and telling 'em how terrible I was
to bring her to this place.
Well, they brought her
into the crisis unit
and do you know, for all the bad things
she did when she was home,
she straightened up, acted as if
she was perfectly normal
and they discharged her.
We went through that several times.
She had her own style.
She liked to wear headbands.
She liked to wear black.
- Black leather headbands with rhinestones
and matching gloves
with no fingers
- And she always wore
bicycle gloves.
- No, Harley Rider gloves.
You know, leather.
- Leather, leather.
- Leather gloves.
- She was
a leather queen.
- Yes, yes.
- I met Gene at a comic book convention
in Oakland.
We just hit it off immediately.
By looking at us, you wouldn't think
that we'd become such tight friends,
but we did.
You know, he looked like the
cool rocker type, you know,
long hair, you know,
everything about him is
just cool and the ladies like it
and I was Mr. Hiphop, you know,
other side of the spectrum and stuff.
- Everything was black.
His clothes were black.
His hair was black.
The curtains were black.
The walls were black.
The sheets were black.
He just wanted...
It's as though he wanted no,
no contrasts.
He mostly just wanted to be
in his room with his computer.
- Me and Gene had long talks about
love and where he's trying to find it,
and I told him he's not gonna
find it on the internet.
A lot of times, he didn't want to hear it.
He just wanted what he saw.
He would send me pictures of these girls
and I'm like,
"Dude, what are you doing?"
You know, that's not,
that ain't it, you know.
I'm like, "Take time,
get to know this person."
You don't know this person from nothing
just because you read
a bio about this person
and this person wants to
turn around and have sex with you.
That's not love, you know.
- I noticed early on
that Lisa was very interested in romance,
and I saw her go through
some very painful rejections.
- She met a guy.
This was just before Christmas.
She took off with him on a bus.
She was gone for a week.
We have no idea where she was.
She was off her medication,
and I was wrapping gifts.
All of a sudden, I looked up
and there was Lisa outside
just really in a bad state.
She thought our dogs were devils.
She broke a clock because she
thought it was a time bomb.
I had to have the police come out,
but before they would admit her,
she had to have a court order to get in
because she'd been in and out
of the crisis so many times.
- Being a schizophrenic is like
watching TV and having 44
channels on at the same time,
and that's her environment 24/7.
You know, there's just
like little noises here,
something there, and
I'm trying to talk here,
but that's distracting
me, that's distracting me,
and it's all equal.
That would freak anybody out.
- She graduated from house to house
to a home where there was constant care
and finally to independent living
for about 15 years.
- That place was great.
- And she had
her own room and she had
a very nice situation
there, she liked it there.
- But one of her roommates there, right,
jumped off the bridge too?
- Well, no, this was a friend that--
- A friend.
- A friend of hers.
- Two years ago?
- Oh, no, it's longer
than that.
- Longer than that.
- Much longer.
- As far as pills and
other forms of suicide,
I haven't personally
experienced that in my houses.
It's like the last three people, I think,
who I was kind of close to in Buckaloo
were all bridge jumpers.
- After she settled in in Marin--
- She did well there.
- She was pretty
stable, then all of a
sudden this past year,
she just felt she needed
more support for some reason.
Do you think that was
the medication change?
- No, I think it was because she was ill.
- Okay, she wasn't feeling good.
- Her teeth were just so rotted
and they felt it was from medication
and from drinking a lot of Coke.
So she had to have all her teeth removed.
So that was--
- She looked kinda
funny walking around with no teeth.
- That was a problem, too.
It was just from then on downhill.
- Okay, everyone, let's stay together.
The Golden Gate Bridge was
designed by Joseph Strauss.
It opened in 1937.
Each year, about nine million tourists
come to visit and they enjoy--
- Well, we went for Easter vacation
to take out the kids to San Francisco,
and before going to the Alcatraz,
before going to the Golden Bridge,
we went to Alcatraz and we went to
the Pier 39 and from there we took a walk
to the Golden Gate.
- We had a big dinner on--
- The week before Easter.
- The week before, yep, Palm Sunday.
So I said, "Lisa, I'm not gonna fix
"a big dinner on Easter Sunday."
The kids weren't going to be around.
So a few--
- Except that was a
tradition in our family
to get together.
- Well, she didn't seem to mind.
She never objected.
So I called her about 1 o'clock on,
she didn't feel good that week,
she still didn't go to work,
and so I said, "Well, I
guess I could come down,
"but I don't know what I can do."
- Lisa was so quiet and,
oftentimes, had this,
I don't know how you'd say it, poker face?
Where she kept her feelings to herself.
She wasn't one to, you know,
get all emotional and which surprised me
'cause I look back now at Mira Woods.
We were walking down the little trail
and there was this huge redwood tree
lying in the middle of the path
and she looked at it and she goes,
"Wow, look at that!"
And sounds like no big deal
but for Lisa that was like,
that was different.
- And then she came home,
and I guess she was hungry
and she asked a girl there,
"Did you fix dinner?"
And they said, "No."
And so then they said she was very quiet
and she got in the freezer
and took something out
and fixed it herself and
after she had then eaten,
they said she was very
quiet when she was eating,
she got up and took her
purse and her jacket
and off she went
and that's the last they saw her.
- We were taking pictures of each other,
and I was taking pictures to them,
and Paulo was taking pictures to us,
and they were playing and--
- And I got scared.
- He was holding
the baby and we were walking and--
- And we saw that lady.
- The lady, yes, put the--
- The bag on the ground
and she jumped off.
- But I said,
"She jumped, she jumped!"
And I was like--
- And she told my brother
to go call the cops.
- Well, Paulo went running
down to get some help
because I wanted somebody to help her
because for us it was the first time
to see somebody jump off the bridge.
And before she jump,
she look at me and Vidarlan.
She was laughing.
She laugh like a smile like
you don't know what I do,
but she smile and jump.
- Like she was acting like,
like a gorilla or something.
- Ay, Sebastian.
No, that's not it.
He likes to make things up.
- I'm not 100% convinced
that she did commit suicide.
I don't know if someone
had accompanied her
to the Golden Gate Bridge
and had encouraged her to jump.
I don't know if someone
had been pressuring her
to go to the Golden Gate Bridge and jump
and, certainly, it is a highly risky
rather glorious way
to draw attention to oneself.
- My brother's very religious.
He doesn't believe she committed suicide.
He thinks it's something else.
I don't know what he thinks.
- I didn't know that.
- Well, he won't call it that because
it's a sin to commit suicide in his mind
and that's not what she did.
She fell or something,
I don't know what he,
he's coming up with
different justifications so
he can look at it--
- He doesn't talk
to me like that, so.
- Thing is, if you go stand
on that bridge and look down,
the amount of guts that you have to have
to stick anything over that rail,
it must have been incredible,
the pressure on her,
it had to be worse than
the thought of doing that,
and I've always thought of myself
as a stronger person than her
and there's no way I would
have the guts to do that
even with, you know, a
parachute or something,
and for her to just do it just like that,
it was like, I still can't believe it.
My family, my husband, my kids,
we're like, how did she
even think about doing that?
- I think it was a
relief, a relief for her,
because she knew she
probably never would be
physically well again and she knew
she had the mental illness
and she was just at the end of her rope.
There were too many things, so.
- Yeah, I agree with that but it's--
- She's in a better place,
that's all I can say.
- You have to look at it that way.
You know.
# In this darkest hour
# A brave face will break soon
# The world waits for you
# The world waits #
- Yeah, I try and relive, you know,
when doing some things, say this is
something Philip likes or
my son would like this or,
he still lives with me, you know.
I go somewhere, a ballgame or something,
he's there.
And then
I think I'm getting
more of an understanding
what he went through toward the end
'cause you feel the same way, it's just,
you know, what makes any
of us go over that line?
It's just
some days you think like that yourself.
It's just he thought about it every day.
- What makes a person
be able to do that?
I don't know, I don't
have the answer to that.
- Well, it's like any pain.
When it becomes unbearable,
you'll do anything and
it's like physical cancer,
I mean, if you have cancer of the mind,
you know, nobody knows
what you're going through.
- I mean, it was like
our hands being tied.
I mean, no matter how much we talk to him,
I mean, he was in and out of the hospital,
the doctors talked to him and
it was like nothing would change his mind.
In fact, I think the
medicines made him worse.
- We thought if we can get
him through his episodes,
but that's the crazy thing is
as soon as you get somebody strong enough,
that's when they have the courage.
So do you make 'em well
or do you keep 'em sick?
He tried it a few times
but the second attempt he said,
"My third attempt, it's not gonna fail."
He said, "I'll make sure of it."
He researched it and found
the Golden Gate Bridge
on the internet.
He said to him it was the best way.
I mean, it was planned out for months
and the final two weeks
he was making his last preparations, so.
He said whether some people believe
suicide's a sin or not.
He asked that a lot.
I said, "It's something man made up."
And at least he thanked me
for telling him the truth.
You know, I don't know.
It's just I don't think God's
gonna hold you responsible
for something you can't handle,
and he said, "Well, whether
I come back or not,"
he says, "If I do, I'll see ya again, Dad.
"If not, just know that I'm at peace."
What I'm trying to say is that
I didn't want him to feel like
he was in a cage inside of himself.
Some people say the body's a temple.
Well, he thought his body
was prison in his mind.
He knew he was loved.
He knew he had everything,
could do anything, and yet
he felt trapped.
That was the only way he could get free.
- Gene was very
overly dramatic.
- Even the simplest things
were very long and drawn out
and very hard and he would
always say things like,
"Kill me now."
You'd be talking about
something and ask him,,
"What do you want for breakfast?"
"Oh, I don't care, just kill me."
"Okay, well, you know,
"where do you wanna go
to look for a job today?"
"I don't care, it's not
gonna matter, just kill me."
- Yeah, "Might be easier
for you to just kill me."
- You didn't take him serious
if he said certain things
because he would almost
say it in a joking manner.
He wouldn't say it with,
like, this intensity of,
you know, like, "I'm
gonna do it this time,"
and he wasn't that person.
He would make light of it and he was like,
"Man, I'm gonna just commit suicide.
"I'm gonna just shoot myself.
"I'm gonna do it with a bow and arrow."
And when he would say this stuff,
we were just like, "Yeah, whatever,"
and years and years and years would go by
as he's crying wolf.
- But he was still fun
to be around.
When I hear myself saying it,
it sounds like he wasn't fun.
I mean, he was fun to be around.
He was fun to go out with
and go to the clubs with and stuff.
He would just get in those little funks
and pretty soon it was
just like I didn't even
pay it any attention.
It was just something he said.
All the time in every conversation.
- If everyone onboard
could take their seats as
we go under the bridge.
The swells and tides
are very unpredictable.
The Golden Gate Bridge is 1.2 miles long
and the towers are 746 feet tall.
The roadway is suspended 220 feet
above the water at center span.
The Golden Gate Bridge
is the most photographed
manmade structure in North America
and it is also considered
one of the Seven Wonders
of the Modern World.
- We had gone to Montana,
Glacier National Park,
the year before and
Philip had a blast there.
We told him if he got
outta the army in time,
which he did, that we
were going back there
and they had those forest fires and so
we couldn't get in so I had
been to San Francisco before
and I said, "You'll love it there,"
and the bridge fascinated him.
- For some reason, yeah,
when we were driving across the bridge,
he just kept looking around and
I just thought it was kind of odd,
you know, that he would just be,
and he wanted to get out.
He says, "Can we walk along the bridge?"
And I says, "I guess
there are people who could
"walk along the bridge."
- Yeah, we were on a tour bus.
- Yeah, I said, "But, you know,
we can't get out now"
and he just kept looking out the window
like he wanted to get out
and just look around and
you know, he thought it
was just so beautiful and
when we did get out of the bus
and he wanted his
picture taken a few times
with the bridge in the background and...
- He'd ask questions.
"How deep do you think it is?
"How high do you think it is?"
- I mean, I like the bridge too,
but he just seemed so fascinated by it
and I just thought that was kinda odd
to have such a fascination with it.
I don't know, it was like
almost calling him, you know, type thing.
It was like magnetic to him.
- Yeah.
- I don't know.
- We thought he might go
and live out there.
Even if he's homeless, at
least it's a city he loves.
'Cause he was homeless in Texas,
lived out of his car.
Met two girls online, went down twice.
Those didn't work.
- He always fell in love
with the wrong person.
I think everything just disillusioned him.
He had this idealistic view of things
and this perception of
how everything should be
and then when it didn't
meet up to his expectations,
after awhile, it was like,
what's the point then?
- But he still had to make a choice.
- Gene's choice, his preference
had been made years before.
He became increasingly alienated
and he had told his mother that
he wanted to kill himself
and she, in essence, had told him,
"I didn't invest a
lifetime in you to have you
"die on me, kill yourself, and walk away.
"You don't have a right to
do that while I'm alive."
And I think it was very hard for him
to watch his mother's non-participation
in a battle with cancer
that she might have won.
It was a choice on her part.
- When I talked to him,
he was acting as if life goes on,
you know, type situation
and I would always tell
him I'm here for you,
you still got family no matter what.
I'm a brother from another mother.
- He said to me after she was gone
and there was a lot of stuff to clean up,
and he said, "Well, now I can finally,
"now I can finally end it all."
And I looked at him and I said,
"Well, you will promise me
"that you will not go
without saying goodbye."
- I remember coming home,
because Thursday night's garbage day
and Friday's recycling day,
and Philip even did that before he left.
He took the recycling
things out to the curb
and I came home that Friday
and they were empty and I said,
"Oh, that's unusual for him not to bring
"the buckets back in."
And when I came in the house
and as soon as she said, "Where's Philip?
"Isn't he with you?"
and I was like, he did it, I knew.
And here's the hard part for me.
I had a feeling it was
going to be in San Francisco
but I said, if he's in San Francisco
and I call the police to stop him,
if I have time yet,
that he's gonna just hang himself
or have the policemen shoot him,
and I said if he's that determined,
I have to let him go,
but when she asked me, I said, "No,
"he's not coming home" and
from the death certificate,
he was already done.
It's just waiting for the policemen
to show up at the door.
- We just came around the corner
after snapping a shot of San
Francisco in the backdrop
and he was right there.
- Yeah, sorta surprised him.
- Yeah, we startled him.
- Came up upon him.
- He was taking off his backpack.
In hindsight, he was probably
getting ready to jump,
then put back his
backpack on really quickly
and acted nervous and we interrupted him.
We interrupted him from jumping
and you spoke with him
'cause you noticed something odd.
- Yeah, just his whole body language,
his whole energy was just a bit off.
He was definitely nervous
and he had a, was shuffling his shoulder
and I initially picked up on that
and said, "Are you okay?
"What's going on?"
And at that point,
he made brief eye contact.
- Well-dressed guy.
- Yeah.
- Brief eye contact,
too, he was very nervous.
He wouldn't look you in
the eye for very long
and just kept darting away, looking away.
And his biggest concern when he ask him,
"Are you all right?"
He said, "It's a long
way down to the water."
- No, he said, "It's a long way down."
- "Long way down," right.
- And I didn't know how to quite take that
when I heard him say that,
and I didn't know if
I heard him correctly.
I thought maybe he had meant
it's a long way back to the
other side of the bridge
and here I am thinking,
well, you're three quarters
of the way, you're close,
and, of course, that wasn't the case.
- And we didn't see him jump.
Did not see him jump.
- For me, he said
he was just gonna
go down so deep that even
if he changed his mind,
he couldn't swim to the top,
but the coroner said
it was over instantly.
- Boy, imagine what this
looks like to people.
They probably look at us and say,
"What kind of mother
and father were they?"
- Yeah.
- I wasn't perfect.
But, I mean, I don't think it
was such a terrible mother.
And then I remember Sharon said to me,
"You know, it's not all about you.
"It has nothing to do with you."
- Yeah, I mean, I was raised
in a family, dysfunctional--
- I mean, yeah, so was I.
- My father was alcoholic,
hers was alcoholic.
They fought like cats and dogs, you know,
and the abuse and I
should be an alcoholic.
I should be a serial killer, you know.
You think you are
raising your family to be
religious or whatever and
you try and do the best
but you wind up doing more
things that are harmful
and then when you try and fix 'em,
it might be too late.
And it's like, well, no matter
what you do good or bad,
things are gonna happen.
And he said, "If you and Mom, who I love,
"are having problems,
"what hope is there for me?"
He says, "I think you love me the most
"and tried your best," and he said,
"If you're having problems,
"there's no way I can make it."
- Yeah.
Took a lot of pictures
while he was on the bridge.
- Yeah.
- He wanted to show what he was seeing.
What he was feeling.
- I was taking pictures
of Alcatraz at the time,
and while I was taking the picture,
I saw like out of the corner of my eye
a girl walking by and she
climbed over the rail,
and she did it so smoothly.
It was almost like she
was going to a little,
like she had her own little clubhouse.
I don't know, like she was going to
sit on the ledge to like eat lunch.
So I got a couple pictures
of her climbing over,
and then I started taking pictures
of her standing on a
ledge and I realized that
this girl's about to jump,
but when I was behind the camera,
it was almost like it wasn't real
'cause I was looking through the lens.
I was actually like, I guess
I was waiting for her to jump
'cause I thought there's nothing I can do.
It was too late.
Earlier, I was actually staring down
at the ledge at a couple
different points on the bridge
and I was just trying to think to myself
what goes through people's minds
whenever they're standing on that ledge
and they're about to jump off,
like what's the last thing
that they're thinking of?
Or, like, are they
thinking anything at all?
They just had enough and they just go
and that's it, they're gone.
I started yelling out to the girl,
asking her what was wrong.
She seemed to be speaking
in a different language,
and basically like tuning me out,
like really not thinking
about what I was saying.
So I got up on the rail and I reached out
and I really didn't
know I was gonna be able
to grab the back of her jacket,
but once I grabbed it, I
just lifted her over the rail
and got her down on the ground.
She started to fight me a little bit,
so I just sat on her
chest and just called 911
and they were probably there
within a couple minutes.
As crazy as it sounds,
I think of myself like
a National Geographic
photographer must feel
and he's behind the camera filming
and there's like a big
tiger that's running at him
and he's like, you know,
"This footage is so great."
He forgets that in a couple seconds
that tiger's gonna be on top of him,
but it's like you're in that
camera, you're just behind
and you don't really think
about what's going on
and that's where I had to separate
or I had to actually get
out of that mode of thinking
and actually act on it and
do something to help her.
After I left the bridge patrol,
I was going back to my vehicle
and I happened to look over
and it kinda looked like she turned back
and she looked right at me
and it freaked me out for a second.
I just didn't expect her to look back now.
I don't know if she actually saw me and
was thinking, like, this son of a bitch,
you know, I wanted to jump
or whatever it was that
that she was thinking.
I'm sure that in some way
that she did want to be rescued
because if she really
wanted to commit suicide
and just take that
basically ultimate shortcut
to the next level, then she would've just
climbed over and just jumped right off.
So I think that she was sort of
crying out for help there a little bit.
The police did tell me
that she was involved
in another incident on the bridge and
they talked her out of it,
and I just hope that she's doing okay.
- Gene had a lot riding
on this relationship
and he wanted to get out of California
and he felt that it was gonna be like
a new beginning and I think he had
it planned out in his head
how it was gonna happen
and then when he got there,
the reality wasn't quite the same
as what was in his head.
- Yeah, I think he was chasing
a certain magical wonderland
that would make all his problems go away
and making excuses as to why
he couldn't find it here,
expecting to find it somewhere else.
He just wanted to make it happen so bad
so that's why he went in St. Louis.
- Only love, really love,
feeling like he was loved and in love
was gonna save him.
And who's to say that this
is not a genetic thing?
Who's to say that that wasn't the reason
his mother chose to have this child
because she, too, was depressed
and knew that she could keep herself here
and functional if she had a commitment?
And how do we know that it wasn't at some
inner level that he
perceived this very young
and that it colored his needs
to have someone depend on him?
I don't know.
- The ideas of suicide,
if I'm completely honest with myself,
have been there for a long, long time.
Years, way before I was diagnosed,
but it was just touching on it,
like, you know, oh, I'll just kill myself.
But the real thought process
of actually going to do it
and commit the act started
I'd say about '99
and that's when I cut my wrist.
- At the end of his junior
year in high school,
he had huge mood swings,
and during his senior year,
they were just compelling.
I mean, he was constantly
either very high or very low.
That was really the fight.
That's when Kevin was at his worst.
There were times where
he couldn't even speak
and there were times where
he wouldn't stop speaking.
- I was hallucinating
and I had made the assumption that
there were bugs in my bed and stuff
and they were like stuff
that were giving me AIDS
and stuff like that
and I was just completely off the wall.
I hadn't been sexually active for years,
yet I thought I had AIDS and it was like
it was all in my head and
I sprayed my bed sheets
with a disinfectant,
like a deodorizer or something like that
but I sprayed my bed sheets, you know,
I sleep in that, I
inhaled in all night long,
which caused the hallucinations
to become greater and greater
and so I got up out of
bed, sat at my desk,
and I must have written five
versions of my suicide letter
until I realized these are mean,
I can't write them like this,
so I wrote a real nice one
or so my thought was nice, I mean,
it's a suicide letter, you know,
and I guess it said something like,
"Mom, you're not always right.
"Don't think you are, but I love you.
"Dad, stop being so mean.
"You're hurting people."
- He had a terrible episode and
there was no comment
with regard to suicide.
It was a commentary with regard to
hearing voices and difficulty
remaining under control,
and I called his psychiatrist
the Sunday night prior and
had a conversation with him
and the psychiatrist told me,
"No, don't worry about it.
"Everything's gonna be fine."
And then Kevin and I stayed up
and we chatted about
it and he seemed to be
fine, almost completely calmed.
- Our conversations go like
this when he's mad at me.
He tells me to sit down in my chair
and he basically yells at me.
I told him that I don't wanna, I said,
"I don't wanna hurt anybody anymore.
"I have to go away."
Or something like that, and he said,
"You have an obligation
"to stay here for your family.
"You have an obligation to me
"who raised you, given
you everything you want.
"You have an obligation
"to live for your brother, your sister,"
but he was mad the whole time.
So I said, "All right,
all right, all right,
"I'm not gonna do anything, Dad.
"Don't worry, don't worry."
And he was like, "Do I have
to take you to the hospital?"
You know, or something like that.
I was like, "No, no, no, no,
"it's all right, it's all right."
I said, "Let me just sleep on it
"and we'll talk about
it in the morning, okay?
"I'm really tired, Dad, I'm really tired."
So he woke me up the next morning
about 7 o'clock 'cause I got
maybe like two hours of sleep,
and he woke me up and he said,
"Hey, you're coming to work with me."
I was like, "No."
He's like, "No, come on,
I'm worried about you.
"I'm really worried about you."
I was like, "Dad, I'm fine,"
the entire time lying through my teeth
because I knew I was gonna
go to the bridge and jump.
- So, listen, why don't
I take the day off?
And we'll go do something
and he said, "Nope.
"I'd rather go to school."
- I kiss him goodbye on the cheek
and I was like, all right,
this is the last time
I'm ever gonna kiss my
daddy goodbye, you know.
I'll never see him again.
And he'll never see me.
And I went to my English class,
dropped all my other classes.
I took the K out to the 28 to
the 29th out to the bridge,
and the whole time I was
just bawling my eyes out,
just crying,
talking to myself on the bus.
I had stopped, before I got on the 28,
I had stopped at Walgreens
and I bought my last meal,
Starburst and Skittles.
went out to the bridge.
Found a place that I thought, all right,
it's not too close to the
pillar, I won't hit the pillar,
I'll just hit the water.
I'll either drown or die on impact
or I'll have a heart attack.
So I got there,
stood there for like 40
minutes at that spot,
just crying my eyes out.
Joggers, bikers, runners,
tourists, whatever
running by and walking by
looking at me, didn't say anything.
It's not their part, it's not
their problem, but anyway,
and this woman, she came up to me.
She said in a German accent,
I think it was a German accent,
she said, "Will you take my picture?"
I was like, your picture?
I mean, I'm gonna kill myself,
what is wrong with you?
Can't you see the tears
pouring out of my face?
But she couldn't.
She was on her own hype.
So I took the camera, I took her picture,
said, "Miss, have a nice day,"
turned back to the traffic,
turned to the bay, said,
"Fuck it, nobody cares."
Pardon my French.
And I hurled over the bridge.
See, what most people do, apparently,
is they get on the ledge
outside of the bridge
and they stand there.
People can talk them out of it
or pull them up or whatever.
I didn't want anybody
to talk me out of it.
I just wanted to die.
So I hurtled over the
railing with my hands
and I was falling headfirst
and the second my hands
left the bar or the railing,
I said, "I don't wanna die."
I said, "What am I gonna do?
"This is like, this is it.
"I'm dead."
So I said, "Well, maybe
if I get feet first,
"maybe, maybe I'll live."
So I thought,
"All right, it's worth a shot."
So my head was falling like this,
and I pushed myself back somehow
and I landed literally
like I was sitting down,
kinda maybe a little more
elevated with the legs,
and I hit with my feet,
and I guess the water treaded
through my boots a little bit,
so maybe helped the impact,
and the boots are pretty tough so,
and I went down about I'd say 40, 50 feet.
Didn't know which way was up or down.
I thought, "Am I still alive?"
'Cause it's like a four
to seven second fall.
It's like 120 miles per hour.
I think that's like seven
seconds below terminal velocity
or like the velocity downslope skiers get.
I was awake.
I was alive.
I was swimming my butt
off to get somewhere
where there was air.
So I reached the surface, I guess,
because I saw some sort of light,
and I was screaming for help
and I couldn't really scream.
My voice was gone.
I couldn't yell.
I was like, "Help.
"Help me."
And I felt something brush by my leg.
I was like, "Oh, great.
"I didn't die jumping off
the Golden Gate Bridge.
"A shark is going to eat me."
I was like, "This is ridiculous."
Years later, I found out,
as a matter of fact, last year I found out
it wasn't a shark.
It was a seal circling me
and apparently it was the
only thing keeping me afloat.
And you cannot tell me that wasn't God
'cause that's what I believe
and that's what I'll
believe till the day I die.
- I was sitting my office
and a secretary
said that, "There's
someone on the line for you
"from Marin General Hospital."
So I picked up the phone and a woman said,
"Is this Pat Hines?"
I said, "Yes."
She said, "Your son has just jumped
"from the Golden Gate Bridge."
I lived here all my life.
I know what that means,
and I said, "Is he alive?"
And she said, "Oh, he is."
And I thought
that they probably told me
that just to keep me calm
so that I wouldn't wreck my car
driving over to see his mangled body.
- I shattered my T12 and my L1,
which is my lower lumbar region
into very, very tiny little pieces
and the pieces went into my organs,
but they missed my heart.
- At this point in time, I
still thought he would be dead.
So I went up to this
gurney and I looked down
and he was wide awake
and he looked up at me
and he said, "I'm sorry."
And then he just closed his eyes and
I just stood there staring at him
and he was, by that
point in time, in a coma.
- It was just super scary, you know?
I mean, I can't explain it.
To feel it would be like...
like feeling an alien
jumping out of your body
or something, you know,
like your soul or whatever.
It was ridiculous,
scary, just really wild.
- 2004 was a tough year for Kevin.
It hasn't been a cakewalk.
Kevin's been visited by
extreme mental illness
three times subsequent
to his jump off the bridge.
The most recent, he was confined
for almost three months
while he struggled and
his doctors struggled
to get his bipolar bracketed in,
and it's a matter of diet,
it's a matter of consistency,
and it's a matter of proper drug therapy.
Kevin will begin to
make headway.
His life will gain traction,
and then he begins to get
outside of the brackets
into which he can function,
and unfortunately, it
has taken three times now
outside, in those outside
areas to convince him,
prove to him more importantly,
that he can't go there,
and unfortunately for Kevin,
it's get up at 8 o'clock in the morning,
take your pills at eight,
have lunch at noon,
if you will, dinner at six,
pills at nine, bed at 10,
and that's a very, very
difficult existence
for a 24 year old male in this society.
But I've told him,
"It's a wonderful disease to have, Kev,
"because you can control it.
"If you had cancer,
"you wouldn't have the same opportunity.
"Unlike cancer, Kevin, as long as you stay
"within these bands, you've got it.
"It doesn't have you."
- It's funny, my family members
still think I haven't learned my lesson,
but the lesson was
learned a long time ago,
and, you know,
it's hard when
you keep messing up,
and no one in your family
believes in you anymore
or trusts you,
whether they're scared
you're gonna go attempt again
and they're always worried,
walking on eggshells
when they talk to you.
It sucks.
So I'm tired of that.
I just want them to say,
"Hey, Kev, what's cracking, man?"
Just be real about it.
Don't walk on eggshells around me.
I'm the same guy,
just different soul, you know,
different ideals.
I just wanna be normal again,
but I never will be.
- We started using crystal meth,
and, you know, using crystal just,
everything starting going down the toilet.
She lost her job, I lost my job.
We ended up becoming homeless.
She has a little easier time
letting go of drugs than I do.
I have a very addictive personality,
just found out last week
that she's been cheating on me again.
So I picked up my son.
I gave him a hug and
kiss and said goodbye,
and told her to F off.
And then I found myself just walking
toward the Golden Gate Bridge.
I was crying the whole way, you know.
Only thing I kept saying was, you know,
"As I walk in the valley
of the shadow of death,
"I shall not fear a thing
'cause God's with me."
So when I got to the
halfway point on the bridge,
I set my book down and I
jumped over onto the railing.
And I just sat there, crying
and thinking for a little bit,
and the cops showed up.
I made the mistake of letting them
get to know me too well
'cause they completely
used my son against me.
- Actually, I came to the bridge last year
at this time to do the same thing
and so it's not a new idea,
but kind of one that became a
little obsessive, I suppose.
How I literally got here
today was on an airplane
from Houston, Texas.
What drew me to it in spite of
having to do so much preparations is that
it is so accessible.
You just kinda hop over.
But, yeah, letting go,
that's the tough part.
I don't know if people
think about that a lot,
like the process that
a person goes through
in trying to decide how to end their life.
It's like a search, it's like looking for
a college to attend or something,
you know, the pros and cons and
it's a destructive act, but there's
a lot of rational thought
that goes into an act
that a lot of people
just consider irrational.
In my bag, I had my parents' phone number
and I wanted them to know what happened
and not just be agonizing
over what happened
to their daughter for a week or two.
So I wanted people just
see me actually do it,
and I think I really did
want somebody to say, "No,
"don't do it."
- When Gene called me
from St. Louis in despair
and was gonna jump off the bridge there,
he said, "I'm just calling to say goodbye.
"It's time."
What could I say to him?
You know, I had tried
on occasion to find something
that would encourage him to live,
and I asked him again for a favor.
I said, "Put my name and phone number
"in a plastic bag in your pocket
"so that when you are found,
"I can be told.
"I need to know."
- He had called me from
a bridge back there
and he was--
- But he called me first
from the train tracks
saying he was gonna lay his neck
across the train tracks
and because he said
things like that all the time,
I didn't call him back
because I just didn't want to hear it.
You can only hear the
same thing so many times
and give the same answer so many times.
You know, "Stop being stupid.
"Don't be ridiculous."
It gets tiring after awhile.
You wanna hear something different,
so I guess when I didn't call him back,
he went to the bridge.
- Yeah, he had made his way to a bridge.
He called me on my cell phone,
told me this relationship
that he was pursuing
is all falling apart, so
I kept him on the phone.
I was talking to him.
At one point in our conversation,
he said, "Oh, a cop's driving by."
And I actually heard the
cop stop and ask him,
"Hey, you're not gonna jump, are ya?"
They asked him, "Is everything okay?
"Any problems?"
And he's like, "No, not really,"
and they decided to leave him alone,
and that's when I said, "Look,
"I'm gonna get a ticket
for you for the bus,
"and you're gonna come
back to California,"
and I convinced him to do that.
- David is very dramatic, boisterous,
a life of the party type,
playing the piano, singing,
you know, really Mr. Party,
which is very interesting because
I'm not that way at all,
and I think part of the reason he liked me
was that I didn't ask him to do that
or he didn't feel he had
to do that around me.
- He was a handsome guy.
He was a good dresser,
and he just exuded this,
which is another reason
why I guess it's so
shocking to me is that he
just exuded this joy for life.
- Ruby was someone that I
was always proud to pull in.
So when there's somebody new in my life
or I was dating somebody for awhile,
I wanna bring 'em over, you know.
- One of Jim's favorite things
was when he'd see me, said,
"Oh, I met a new friend.
"You've got to meet this person.
"You've just gotta meant this person."
He had great delight in
bringing people together.
He really loved people and
just very warm personality.
At least that's how he
was in the beginning.
- Before six months ago, I would
never have said that I thought Ruby
had a significant depression problem.
I know that he was alone
without a source of income.
I know his sister had killed herself.
I know he had all those variables.
Nothing before this last
few months of his life
indicated to me that
he was out of the range
of the normal ups and downs
that we just don't share all the time.
- David came over to Charlie's
to have dinner with us
and that's when he told
us for the first time
he was seriously on medication,
but up until that point
apparently he had been
self-medicating with alcohol
and although I knew him for nine years,
I could count on maybe,
maybe two times that I
see him really drunk.
- David would, every so often, determine
that he had to get his life back together
or he would be confronted
by me or other friends
and start treatment.
He took antidepressants for
a month and a half or so
and made a big show of it,
but then in the end I arranged a label
so that I could see if he'd
been picking the bottles up
and he hadn't touched them.
Didn't touch them for weeks.
- So a couple of months before he died,
Ruby started talking about
he couldn't get over
his feelings of losses
and he thought that he might be depressed,
but he didn't have any health insurance.
So he said, "I want some meds.
"Got any ideas how I can get some?"
And I had tried some antidepressant meds
that didn't seem to help and
I couldn't sleep on them.
So I said, "Okay, listen.
"You can have mine.
"But you've gotta call a physician
"for information on how to take them.
"I cannot be responsible
for how you take them.
"But you can have them."
I was gonna give him
the whole bottle of them
in the original bottle and I thought,
what if one day somebody
goes into his apartment
and is looking through his stuff
and finds my name on a bottle of meds?
I took them out and I
put them in an envelope.
Just a plain envelope.
- It was around November or the fall
when Jim lost an enormous amount of money
and he actually made the statement,
"Well, if I don't sell these pots,"
which were these Japanese ceramics,
"I'm just gonna have to commit hara-kiri."
- When I called him, I said, "David,
"I know you're in trouble,
"I know you've lost your job,
"and I wanna help you."
He stopped because I'd never
really said that before
because I didn't view
him as really in trouble,
and he said,
"I can't talk about this right now
"because I don't wanna cry
in the middle of the street,"
and I thought, oh my God, this is serious.
He's really emotionally
on the verge of tears.
- Five months before he jumped,
he had written a note, an email
to a couple dozen of his friends
saying that he had been
contemplating suicide
and a lot of them wrote
back to him and called him.
However, he never mentioned
suicide to me ever,
and I just can't fathom the
idea of committing suicide
and I just think I thought
he was one of those people
who for him it just wasn't an option,
but apparently it was.
- My daughter was leaving for camp,
and I said, "You know what,
let's go to the movies."
We went into the theater.
He just put his head in his hands
and he just wept.
He just wept in the movie.
And I was tearing up a little too,
but he was just crying
and crying and crying.
And he put his hand on my leg,
and I said,
"Ruby, I don't need to be comforted,"
and he looked at me.
I thought, oh my God.
Oh no.
It was then that I remembered
that I put the meds in
a plain white envelope
a couple months earlier.
We got out of the movie theater
and we were walking to his car,
and I thought,
he's not just depressed,
he wants to kill himself.
And he said, "The meds,
"I think I can't sleep
because of the meds,"
and I said,
"I know, I wish I hadn't given them to you
"because I feel like I made it worse.
"They had the same effect on me."
He said, "That's it, actually.
"I can't sleep,
"and I'm just up.
"I can't stop worrying.
"I just can't turn it off and not sleeping
"is what is making me crazy.
"I'm thinking about I'm killing myself."
And I said, "I know."
I felt it when we were walking to the car.
Something was gone.
And he said, "I'm so ashamed
"to tell you that I'm
thinking about doing this.
"What would you think of me if I did?"
And I said, "Ruby, I have understood
"that there are people
who have incessant pain,
"but ...
"I don't think you're one of 'em.
"Do you have plan?"
And he said, "Well, I'm
thinking about different things.
"I'd overdose except I'm
not sure how much to take
"and I might wake up in an ER,
"and that would be horrible.
"I thought about the bridge,"
and I said, "You can't do the bridge.
"Too dramatic."
He said, "What about people
who shoot themselves?"
And I said, "It's too messy.
"It's not fair to your landlord.
"And, anyway,
"you are not in the category
"of people who get to kill themselves."
And then he wanted to come over
and spend some time and just
didn't want to go home yet,
but I actually just
wanted to be by myself.
I said, "No.
"But if you feel really desperate,
"you call me, I'll drop anything."
I did say that.
So then I got him out
of my car and went home,
and I didn't hear from him
actually ever again.
# Since I lost you
# I can't get through the day
# Without at least
# One big boo-hoo
# The pain won't go away
# What am I gonna do #
- We all know how much
all of us had been close to Jim,
how his passing has
affected us, whether it's
fear that,
you know, you might get to that same place
and do the same thing or
just guilt because you felt you
weren't a good enough friend
or whatever it is, there is
a lot different reactions.
Talking to everybody, there's
a lot of different reactions.
And I think everyone's
trying to make sense of it.
In Jim's particular passing, which
as a friend of mine said,
he was warning you but he
was not asking for help.
- I thought
that he was probably feeling so ashamed
'cause the theme of that night was
I'm so ashamed I'm telling you this
that I
made the mistake of giving
him some space to recover,
and that was a bad call, I think.
You know, I could have 51-50'd him.
But, also,
I didn't wanna humiliate him
and have him be in a psych facility
'cause I wasn't sure they
were really gonna help him
and I didn't wanna cross my boundaries.
But I will never again not intrude.
I won't respect their privacy
and I will not ever again
not do something 'cause I'm afraid
that they might be embarrassed.
- There's obviously a fuzzy line between
doing nothing and doing
what would have prevented it
and who knows where that line is?
He was a grownup.
I couldn't tell him what
to do with his life,
and I suppose if we had had him locked up
or something, then he
might still be alive,
but I don't
blame myself like that.
Initially, several of his other friends
went out there as a group
because they knew the light pole number
where he had jumped.
I couldn't go,
but a couple of months later, I did go
and it was very difficult,
and I'll never be able to
drive across the bridge again
without some kind of
emotional reaction.
Something else I'm
pissed off at him about.
It's such a great bridge.
- I think the bridge has a romance,
a false romantic promise to it
because he's dead.
he doesn't get to benefit
from the romanticism of it.
He doesn't have any benefit from it.
It romanticizes him a bit in the legend,
but he doesn't benefit for it.
So what if his story has that at the end?
He's gone.
And so I think there's an empty promise.
It's almost like, you know
what alcoholics talk about
the romance of the bottle, you know?
Like maybe the first sip is really good
and everything else is hell.
So maybe walking out there,
he had a romantic moment
or two or an hour,
but hitting the water can't be fun.
So I think he felt like a failure
and this was some sort of redemption.
I think that it just drew
him with this idea of
being famous.
- The last time I saw him,
I was leaving for work
and I gave him five bucks so
he could get a pack of smokes,
go grab a paper, and, you know,
go out and maybe hit a couple places
to put in some applications,
and that's when he disappeared
and I was the last one
to actually talk to him,
and I remember when I
was walking out the door,
the last thing I said to him, I said,
"Cheer up, Gene."
I said, "Everything will work out."
And just jokingly, I said,
"See you when I get home, love you,"
and that was it, that was the
last thing I ever said to him.
- The last thing I ever
said to him was a fight.
- Yeah.
- Because...
I didn't think he was trying
to find a job as hard as he could,
and it was making me angry
because I knew that he was very smart
and he was very capable
and the only thing
holding him back was him
just not caring,
and he found one of the
kid's sidewalk chalk
and he was sittin' behind Matt's truck
and he wrote "End me" on the ground
like he scratched it in
over and over and over,
and my son came in and got me
and said, "Why would Gene write that?"
- Knowing Gene and the way his
personality works and stuff,
the Golden Gate Bridge is perfect for him
because it's just one easy step
and there's no turning back.
In hindsight, I almost feel like
it was meant to happen.
Maybe he's happy now.
You know, who knows?
I don't, but
he couldn't have lasted much longer,
not the way he was going.
- But if he would have waited,
there was a message on
our answering machine
from one of the places in Oakland
that had offered him a management position
which is what he wanted.
They were opening a new
GameStop, I think it was.
- Whatever,
one of the game places.
- One of game
stores and they were gonna put him
straight into management,
and he had an interview
the day that he jumped
at 10 o'clock in the morning.
- Yep.
- And I don't know
if he got the message
or if he missed it 'cause I
don't know what time he left.
He was gone before I got home.
If he would've either just
checked the message or waited.
- I couldn't fully cry, and I couldn't
fully whatever, but the
overwhelming emotion was anger.
I was extremely pissed.
I wanted to drive out to the Bay Area and
go to the coroner and
you know, get, clear!
Wake up.
Why did you do that?
I don't see any reason
for people to do that,
and Gene had people in
this world that loved him,
and he hurt 'em.
If I see him again, that's
what I wanna tell him.
He hurt me,
and I didn't think he would ever do that.
- Disturbed is a interesting word
'cause... that's
all I can define it as
is I was disturbed.
Now I miss him.
Now I'm sad.
But at the moment, there was almost,
that I got the news, there
was almost a sense of relief,
that he wasn't going to be
disappointed or unhappy anymore.
I miss him.
But I don't have any answers,
just a bunch of
observations and a bunch of
experience of feeling disturbed
about that situation.
I don't know why people kill themselves,
and yet it's a small step
to emphasize, to say...
because I think we all
experience moments of despair
that it would be so much
easier not to do this anymore.
But for most of us,
the sun comes out and then,
oh well.
Tomorrow is another day.
Why he chose the bridge, I don't know.
Maybe there's a certain amount of
release from
pain by pain.
Maybe he just wanted to fly one time.
# Here, where they can't find us
# Dare them to call
# Me out
# Or tell you
# We met here on purpose
# I bet they can't wait
# To wake us up
# It's all
# A little bit strange
# I know
# It's a little bit strange
# Make
# A point and ignore them
# Come on, let's wait
# This out
# They'll find out
# We never stopped turning
# And sometimes it's tough
# To change direction
# I know
# It's a little bit strange
# It's all
# A little bit strange
# At the end of the day
# Well, I
# Gonna say what I mean
# Well, I
# It's slipping all away
# Away
# At the end
# Of our days
# We'll escape
# We'll escape
# I know
# Oh, oo, oh
# Oh, oo, oh
# I know
# It's a little bit strange
# It's all
# A little bit strange
# At the end of the day
# Well, I
# Gonna say what I mean
# Well, I
# At the end of the day
# I
# Gonna say what I mean
# Well, I
# Slipping all away
# Slipping all away
# Slipping all away
# Now
# At the end of
# Our day
# We'll escape
# We'll escape
# Oh, there's no escape
# We'll escape
# Oh, yeah
# Right now
# Oh, oo, oh
# Oh, oo, oh #