The Balcony

Boom! The boisterous roaring thunderstorm awakens me. I creek my eyes open and I see vivid yellow flashes through my window. Raindrops tap on my window, like the annoying sounds of criticism I hear everyday. The voices in my head are like weeds in a garden that are impossible to destruct. No matter how much effort I try to pull the plant, the roots get stronger. The voices scream, “I’m fat, I’m worthless, I’m incompetent. It’s just the way it is.” With no energy to fight back and running on three hours of sleep, I yell back helplessly “shut up…shut up. I guess those sleeping pill don’t work. I need to be prescript with a higher dose.”

Dreadfully, I stagger out of my soft bed, which is the only place I feel comfort. My bed is my fantasy; somewhere I can relax, be unconscious, and eliminate the voices. I want to escape reality and the only way is to take more sleeping pills. The pills are behind the mirror cabinet in the bathroom. As I walk toward the bathroom, I feel fifty pounds heavier. I hear, “You have no self-discipline. You shouldn’t have eaten fries, burger, and soda.” I enter the bathroom and I see a reflection of a disgusting colossal pig, stubby, and overweight. My hair is greasy, oily, and dent unevenly. My receding hairline, patches of mustache below my flat nose, a galaxy of acne surround my face, pale skin, and exhaust droopy eyes glare back at me. I look left to prevent the horrible image from blinding me, and then I see a useless poster of Louis Armstrong. The poster is dangling and the last tiny strip of tape is holding on the wall for dear life. I laugh at the thought of changing my career. “What was I thinking?” I rip the tape off the wall, crumble the poster, and toss it into the trashcan. I open the mirror cabinet and scavenge left to right, “I see laxative and diet pill. No not those. I see alcohol. Ah ha, I finally find those sleeping pills.” I pour a shot of alcohol and grab four sleeping pills.

As I gradually place the pills in my mouth, I hear voices seeping into my head, “What an ugly man! You’re so worthless. You can’t even take care of yourself, why would you think people even care about your existence. No one cares about you. You are a bothersome to your mom, your dad, your co-worker, and not like you even have friends.” I grab my head and try to repeat, “no, no, no, my parents love me, my dad lov…” Before I can even finish, the voices scream, “There is no point in even trying, why do you bother? You know what is better for yourself. I am tired of living life like it is a chore.”

A great idea pop into my head, it was fantastic. “I can finally return to my fantasy.” I exit the bathroom and walk towards the balcony on the second floor. I hear my phone ringing; I have about thousands of miss calls that I ignore. When I arrive to the second floor balcony, I slide open the doors and stand there allowing the water droplets to soak my skin. I walk closer to the railing. I put one foot over the railing and next thing you know I am flying as gravity pulls me downward. I am approaching the white light; finally I can reach the fantasy, heaven. I blank out.

I feel warm soft hand rocking me back and forth. “Wake up dude! Are you okay?” I open my eye and I see a twenty something year old man, a little chubby, brown hair about mid-length, and a warm smile. I reply back, “Yeah, I am okay. Where am I and who are you?” He replies, “My name is Joseph. Yesterday, I saw that you were semi-consciously lying on the street floor and you needed some place to stay. You don’t remember that you asked me to help you? I brought you to my house just to spend one night, so you can sober up. Now that you’re up, would you like some breakfast before you departure?” I nod my head and said, “I would greatly appreciate that.” Joseph said, “Stay right there, I’ll grab some food really quick and bring it up.”

While sitting on his bed, I observe his room. At the right corner of his room, something catches my attention. There is a dusty trumpet that is hiding behind the piles of medical books. His room is fill with posters of famous musicians. He reminds me of my old passion or my unachievable dream. I wanted to become a musician, however my career as a physician took over my life. I look left and on Joseph desk, it was compile with medical and science related textbooks. Just then, Joseph barges in the room with two plates of food and two cups of freshly organic orange juice. He gives me a plate with pancakes and a cup of orange juice. I take a bite of the pancake and the flavor reminds me of my childhood. I use to live at home and always eat my mom freshly made pancakes with orange juice. Joseph sits down at his desk says, “Those pancakes are delicious right? My mom just made a whole bunch for me.”

Joseph then proceeds to ask me, “What’s your name and how do you plan to get home?” I answer, my name is Joe and I would appreciate it if you can help me call a taxi.” I reach into my pocket and realize I have no cash, no ID, no nothing. Joseph smiles and said, “Joe I have a car, I can bring you back. Just tell me your address, I’ll type it in my navigation.” I state, “123 Townsend Street, Buffalo, New York, 1562.” Joseph types it in his phone; his eyebrows raises up and he turn around and says, “The address does not exist.” In confusion, I start to get light head, lost, and I am positive that is my address. Joseph looks at me with sympathy and said, “You know what Joe, I think you need some more time to rest. You can stay at my house for a little longer until you are stable.” I nod with gratitude and ask Joseph, “so you play the trumpet and you want to be a doctor?” Joseph eye’s lit up and a little smirk develop when I mention trumpet, but as soon as I said doctor, the simmer in his eyes disappear. Joseph replies, “I love the trumpet, but it’s just a hobby. My soon to be career is a physician; it’s really my parent’s dream. Do you play? What’s your job?” I smile, “I can relate. I am a physician and I use to want to be a professional musician. Trumpet was my favorite instrument. I love Louis Armstrong’s music.”

Within an instant, we click and became close friends. I end up staying at his place for months, playing music with him, we motivate each other to lose weight, and I help Joseph with his studies. Joseph is independent and has a perfect life. He has loving parents who always call him. However, he is stubborn and lazy, so he ignores most of the calls. He has friends, future career, and talent in music. He is like a long lost brother I never had.

One day he lock himself in his room and did not come out for the entire day. I knock on his door. I hear no response, so I open the door. There I see Joseph lying on bed, just about to cut his plump vein on his hand. I sprint toward the knife and grab it out of his hand. Joseph scream, “What are you doing? Give it back to me!” I reply back, “Why are you doing this? What had gotten into you?” As tears rapidly fall down his eyes, he cried, “I hate my life. I have nothing and no one loves me. My parents only care that I become a doctor. All I want to do is become a musician. I am worthless, ugly, and fat. What is the use of life?”

I scream at him, “Are you crazy? Why can’t you see that everyone loves you? You have the perfect life. Your parents call you everyday to check on you, yet you do not care. You ignore those who care for you. Do you know what love is? Why do you always focus on the negative things? If you hate your career, it is not too late to change. I bet if you just take the chance to talk about it with your parents they will allow you to do anything you want. You put these wild thoughts in your head of self-shaming. You are not that chubby and you need more confidence. All it takes is motivation to change your imagine. Even then, your image is not an important factor of life, what really matter is that you have kind heart and on a daily you help patients. You just have to stop isolating yourself, listen, stop being so stubborn.” Joseph stubbornly stops listening to my words and yells, “Aren’t you the same!” and tires to grab the knife out of my hand. My reflex accidentally punches him in the eye and we both fall onto the floor in opposite direction.

As I gradually stand up, I try to look for Joseph. Suddenly, he is gone. I look forward and I see a mirror reflecting my face. I see the black eye on my face and unexpectedly Joseph’s room appears to be my old room. I have the same poster on my wall, the dusty trumpet in the corner, and the medical book stack up everywhere. In disbelief, I close my eyes for a few seconds; unexpectedly I hear my phone ring. I wake up and realize everything was just a dream. I walk to grab my phone, but before I could pick up my mom’s call, it ends. I grab my tape and immediately sprinted to the bathroom. Still I see the poster of Louis hanging for dear life. I tape it back up, so it is unable to fall again. I pick up my phone and decide to call my mother. My mother answers, “Hi Joseph.”

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