Towering skyscrapers surround the Waterloo bridge with beaming rays of iridescent lights.
After midnight, the buildings take centre stage; morphing themselves into a dazzling spectacle of shiny glass cylinders.
Just imagine the sight of multiple buildings emerging from the depths of the concrete and illuminating off the dark waters.
With the backdrop of the velvet blue sky, the whole landscape made the night almost perfect.
It was so close……
But as always………London snaps me back into reality – in the form of a human crisis that catches me completely off guard.
Stopping mid run behind me, a middle aged man pressed pause on his midnight run, to unleash a colossal round of “SCREAMS OF RAGE!”
His screams were so loud and sudden, everybody froze around him like statues as he slowly walked towards the edge of the bridge.
The atmosphere was filled with horror because the screams were so violent it heightened concern of this mans safety and what the man was about to do, especially as we were on the Bridge!
Yet nobody dared move and nobody dared approach him. I guess we shared the same though of not wanting to scare him, yet wanting to be close enough to save him.
The handful of civilians surrounding him waited, but for what?
All we knew is that he was completely unaware of our presence.
Some passers by slowly observed the scene, staring at the man holding onto the bridge and facing the direction of the Thames.
The moment he straightened up, he became aware of the watchers around him.
Cautiously, he backed away from the bridge and continued his jog.
We all looked at each other with a sigh of relief and as if someone pressed play on life, we all just went our separate ways. The surrounding sounds became louder and the moment of horror had now passed.
After all, London during the midnight hour has became infamous for witnessing a stranger on the brink of a mental breakdown.
In fact there are more police calls here in the night than there is at any other time of the day.
It was actually that night I gave the Waterloo Bridge the label, ‘Bridge of horrors!’
The midnight runners sudden “Screams of rage” really wasn’t that surprising.
In London, everyone is slightly more unhinged than it seems on the surface. The midnight runner is your manager, director or the guy on top being driven around in his town car.
Most professionals have built there whole existence around their careers. I mean, lets look at their social lives – most peoples relationships are a direct connection to their workplace and here it is very easy to blur the line.
Their successes are their promotions and their wealth is measured by economics.
Therefore, failure in their world means failure in life.
The breathtaking picture of the Thames you take selfies on, is also subject to multiple suicides throughout the year. In fact, in 2014 the suicide rates of those jumping and drowning in the Thames rose to 57%.
Although we all may feel the pressures of metropolitan life weighing on our shoulders, there is this unique detachment here that can eradicate simple forms of human empathy; that probe the question, ‘Are you okay?’ to the person plugged into their earphones, the timid girl behind a newspaper or the sunken head to the floor.
Why is it that we have to wait for something to happen to approach someone?
Why are we no longer present to those that need the help around us?
Or is this just a London state of mind?