[ as you read this, open your mind’s eye, and let your imagination show you what i saw, what i felt. however, i must give you a trigger warning: suicidal thoughts. i promise it ends up alright. i’ll explain myself in the end if you’d like to read that too. ]
the clock ticks incessantly, reading a time too far gone into the night but far too early for morning. it entrances me; my empty gaze focuses on nothing. somehow, my eyes drift over to the balcony door. there’s a tug in my chest that pulls me closer until i’m standing before it. i pause to stare at my reflection on the glass, but i can’t make out a face. my hand unconsciously grips the handle.
i open it.
one step onto the open balcony and my hair is already brushed away by the wind. it seeks my exposed skin, leaving a trail of goosebumps in its wake. i’m forced to clench my teeth in order to fight back a shiver. the patter of raindrops offers to wash yesterday away; the sound is comforting — the smell, fresh and clean. drops come in pinpricks. the wind is neither gentle nor harsh, but it seems to curve into me. at its coaxing, i follow its lead.
another step forward.
the city flickers impatiently, as though waiting for the familiar heat to graze it once more. the twilight is subtle. the silence had no hold here; its place had been taken by the white noise only a city could provide, with the rain in tune like a duet. a dull half-moon keeps watch over those who were resting and those who were restless. the streetlights remain on, of course. but i’m not just looking out.
i’m staring down.
i see the distance of twenty-three floors lengthen. my left foot takes yet another step forward, and my right follows. fingers clamp onto the rusted railing, and it bites back with ice.
then i’m frozen.
the wind is whispering, yet it screams in my mind. it throttles me with poorly sugarcoated thoughts.
‘imagine if you jumped. the feeling of flying. the feeling of falling. swimming in the rain. i’ll rush past your ear like encouragements to continue your downward spiral. the earth crashing into your very soul. how much fun it’ll be. how exhilarating it would feel.’
it croons and caresses and cajoles, but i find myself rooted in the tiles. i start imagining where i would land. that makes me teeter — was the wind pushing me? was i allowing it? — but the off-balance was enough.
my recoil from the railing sends me backward. with a newfound desperation, i shove open the door and dash inside. my thoughts were collected enough to have the sense to close it gently. when had my hands started to shake? my gaze lands on my reflection once more. the dim nightlight offers enough illumination this time.
i see my eyes. i see the dark circles underneath them. i see how dazed i had become. but they were not broken. and that thought was enough to let me breathe again.
the next night, the balcony beckons me once more.
but i was done complying.