He thinks he must have donned the lead jacket when he was a child, but he cannot remember a time when he has not worn it. He calls it a jacket for want of a better name, but it is more a part of his body than an item of clothing. An extension of his skin, permanently anchored to his torso.
It is invisible to others, although those closest to him may have glimpsed it or at least suspected its existence.
The lead jacket is heavy. Very heavy. It weighs him down. And the jacket makes it all but impossible to climb beyond the solid, high wall that hems him in. Because of the jacket, he remains anchored to the ground at the foot of the wall.
Even so, occasionally, he manages to climb a little way up the wall and, through reflections and strange tricks of the light, he glimpses a compelling horizon. A glittering and evocative destination where he might fulfil his destiny if he could only travel towards it.
But the jacket prevents him from climbing the wall and journeying to his true potential.
He knows that he has both the mental determination and the physical ability to climb the wall with ease. Without the jacket, he could shimmer up at speed and walk away from the brink, his eyes set on the far horizon, his heart and mind filled with rich possibilities.
But, the jacket will not let him climb. It traps him. He wants to pull it off his body and cast it aside forever. But he does not know how. He knows that there are hidden clasps that he could undo so that the heavy lead jacket would fall away to the floor. But he cannot locate the clasps.
He tries to look at the jacket from new angles in the hope that he will finally glimpse the hidden clasps and be able to release himself.
Sometimes, he sees the shadows cast by the clasps. But, he cannot focus his mind on the clasps themselves. The objects that cast the shadows seem to fade away when he tries to observe them and are quickly lost to him.
But, he remains full of hope. He keeps trying. One day soon, he will discover how to make the lead jacket fall and he will climb away to the glowing horizon.