The Balcony

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Memories were just things haunting him. He chose to hang on to the future—where he could be a different person. The future was like a path that could lead him anywhere he wanted to go. The options were endless. While his past chased him toward that inevitable, constant future, he chose to revel in it. He chose to imagine the millions of ways his life could turn out.

Submitted: April 11, 2017

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Submitted: April 11, 2017

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He could hear them cheering—yelling, berating. The ground smelled like rubber soles and the wasted youths who’ve trampled the floors generations before him. There was only so much oxygen he could breathe in through his mouth before he had to exhale, but it wasn’t enough—he couldn’t make his brain function the way it needed to. He needed it to.

He vaguely remembered how he got on the floor. The older boy turning the corner with the Hellish smile. Lifting a hand. Swinging in a wide arch. Now he was on the floor and the entire school seemed to be watching. He didn’t dare lift his head. He knew what he’d see. The stares were an identical mask each time.

Sliding his hand across the floor, he attempted to steady himself and stand shakily, but a boot crashed down onto his back. An inhuman scream rippled through the dingy air and he lay on the floor, too frightened and pained to move anymore.

On his breath, he could still smell the breakfast his mother made that morning—waffles and eggs. His exhalations of terror escalated slightly, making the pungent odor somewhat vexing. His mother told him he should wear a nice shirt today. She told him that every day. His father read the newspaper and griped about the changing weather patterns, stating that it was the government’s ploy for citizens to pay more taxes for nonsense things like “global warming.” His baby brother spit out his food all over his bib and giggled with his one tooth and chubby cheeks.

His older sister helped him cover the bruises with her makeup.

He felt the blood dribble out of his mouth, but he didn’t dare move. His back would flare up in agony and he would surely be kicked again. He spotted a stain on the floor, only noticeable from the angle that he was currently in—laying in a heap on the floor. The browns and blacks hid a myriad of blues and pinks, which overlay a very serene purple he thought to be an older stain.

The stain looked like one he saw his sister try to create on a canvas with watercolor. The tightness in her face as she attempted to master the landscape in a beautifully haunting manner was something completely foreign to him. He recalled the way she would use the back of her wrist to wipe the sweat and long black hair from her brow before continuing. Her bold, ever-curious hazel eyes jumped from corner to corner while each stroke of her brush brought a new vibrancy to the piece. When he thought the piece was finally becoming genuine, authentically unique, his sister let out a cat-like yowl that pierced his soul and raised the hairs on his neck and arms, and picked up the canvas and hurled it at the wall.

His sister didn’t leave her room for days after that, and he began bringing meals to her bedside so he knew she was getting something to eat. She would play with his lengthening brown hair and make soft comments about him finally growing up. At that time, he was nearly the same height as her. Sometimes he would just lay at the foot of her bed and watch her sleep, making sure the rise and fall of her chest was steady. He often fell asleep curled into the fetal position at her feet and would wake up with sore muscles and lines and indents in his face where his oversized glasses had protruded into him during the night.

An intense throbbing in his lower back brought him to reality, to his present. Groaning, he clenched his eyes closed and hesitated for a moment before bringing his arm under his torso to support some of his weight. His back was bent at an odd angle. His eyes filled with tears then. He knew they weren’t done. But he was.

He couldn’t handle any more pain before he broke—metaphorically and literally. There wasn’t a lot he held precious anymore, but his future was one thing he did have.

Memories were just things haunting him. He chose to hang on to the future—where he could be a different person. The future was like a path that could lead him anywhere he wanted to go. The options were endless. While his past chased him toward that inevitable, constant future, he chose to revel in it. He chose to imagine the millions of ways his life could turn out.

He would graduate high school, go to college, and maybe become a surgeon. He would meet his soul mate at 28 and make her his wife at 29. They would start a family. His children would adore him. The neighbors would envy him. He would send his kids to college and have a heart attack at 48. He would suffer several more over the next decade and die at 61.

Or maybe he wouldn’t graduate high school at all. Maybe he’d just run away and travel the world. Meet multiple women and marry none of them. He would get alcohol poisoning and fall off a balcony in France. He would splatter on the street like a pancake full of raspberry filling.

Closing his eyes and laying his overheated head on the cool floors, he chose to live in that dream world, at least for a little while. They could beat him every day while the school board looked the other way, and all he had to think about was the inevitable, constant path that could lead him anywhere he wanted to go. Raspberry fillings or heart attacks didn’t bother him none.

At least he would have some good stories to tell in Hell.


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