I was crossing The Bridge.

He approached me with his hand outstretched. I thought he intended to greet me.

But instead, he put a length of rope in my hands. The rope was tied around his waist. “You better hold on,” he said.

Then he jumped off the bridge. He dangled there in mid-air while I gripped the rope.

“I’m your responsibility now,” he said. “After all, you hold the rope! If you let go, I will surely perish.”

So I tied the rope to the bridge and continued to cross.

He screamed at me, “How can you be so selfish? How can you think only of yourself when you see me in such a terrible position?”

I responded. “It doesn’t matter who or what I am. It doesn’t matter if I’m being selfish or compassionate. It makes no difference why I’m doing what I’m doing. Here is the only thing that matters. If I pull you up, you will jump again some day.”

I continued. “Even worse. If I pull you up, the next time you jump you may hand the rope to someone who isn’t strong enough to hold you. And you may very well take them with you.”

I finished. “I hope you find a way up. Good-bye.”

And I crossed The Bridge.