In My Opinion, I’m going Crazy
I once started writing down everything I could think of. I figured it be pretty interesting to write randomly as things came to mind, then go back and read through it. I can remember writing down everything from how I thought door stops were a ridiculous invention--I mean come on, someone made millions off of a heel shaped piece of wood--to how bad I wanted to fuck Kelsey Schumann, my neighbor from across the street. I used to call it my All Over the Place journal. It seemed to give me some clarity on my thought process. But now I have nothing, no clarity, no view, and no way to see through the darkness that currently fills my head. I’m so lost right now.
My life has been a rollercoaster. My parents divorced when I was seven, and were remarried when I was ten. I smoked pot for the first time when I was thirteen and lost my virginity at fifteen. I went to college for a year after high school, and then dropped out. I’ve worked multiple jobs in my life and I couldn’t stand any of them. All in all, I’m what most people consider to be a loser. I live in a one bedroom apartment, I work part time at a check cash place, and with all that going on, or lack there of, I still can’t seem to find time to find me the right women. You see being a loser and having no real direction are the least of my concerns. To be honest, I think I’m going crazy.
The Second to Last Conversation
Steven looks down at his mug. The black coffee ripples as his fingers grasp the handle. He was never a fan of the creams, or milks, or sugars people so often recommended he add to his cup of Joe. He has been coming to this particular donut shop for years, but today was different. Today a decision needs to be made. His red v-neck shirt lay wrinkled, dangling past his torso. An obvious size to big, the shirt smelled of moth balls and weed. The attire concluded in ragged blue jeans, so old even he didn’t remember where he had gotten them, and a pair of overly used white converse.
A cool breeze suddenly brushes Stevens’ face. The front door of the shop opened, revealing a silhouette not unfamiliar to him.
“How are you Steve,” the silhouette says, “it’s been forever.”
“I’m doing well Beck, it’s good to see you.”
Steven and Rebecca had been friends for as long as they both could remember. Very much his type, Rebecca was tall. Her long black hair smothered her shoulders as her thin frame moved with such fluidity, Steven always thought.
“What’s it been, like two months,” she asks as she hugs him. “I’m glad you called Steve, I really am.”
The restless waitress makes her way over to the pair from behind the counter. “What will it be guys,” she asks with raspy, tar stricken vocals. “Specials are right behind me,” the waitress continues as she points back at the large menu posted up behind her.
The pair glance at the two menus Steven had requested when he first arrived. Single, laminated sheets, the menus only briefly are examined, as both answer simultaneously. “I’ll have the croissant, please.” Steven and Rebecca smile, both aware of the others order.
“Just give me a few; I’ll be back with those croissants in a bit.”
Beads of sweat begin to form across Stevens’ forehead. His nonchalant posture quickly turned its other cheek.
“You ok? You look a little flustered. Didn’t think I did that to you anymore,” Rebecca says, referring back to the many times Steven had so anxiously waited on a response after asking her out. “What is it that you have to tell me? I’m kind of excited to know.”
“I don’t know Beck. I mean I just don’t know how to, or even if I can.”
Rebecca, now noticing reluctance in her best friend’s demeanor, reaches over to console him. “It’s ok; you know you can tell me anything.”
Steven, grasping his coffee mug, pulls it to his lips. The white cloud of steam coming from the mug enters his nostrils just before he takes the sip.
“Beck, I’m having these dreams and I’m hearing things. I seriously think I’m going crazy.”
“What Kind of dreams?”
Steven looks up, finally catching eyes with Rebecca
“I’m seeing people die.”
Rebecca is taken back by the response. Never one not to do so, she begins to pry. “What do you mean you see people die?”
“I mean I fall asleep as me and wake up as someone else. It’s got to be a dream you know, because I always wake up after I, I mean, that person dies.” Beads of sweat have now become streams, lining the sides of his face, the runoff trickling down onto the red v-neck.
“Beck I’m scared. I don’t’ know what’s going on with me.”
The two sit in silence for a moment. The sweet aroma of neither pastries nor the newly placed croissants in front of them could help alter the eerie silence that followed Stevens’s claims.
“Please tell me I’m not going crazy Beck, that’s all I need you to say.”
Unsure herself, Rebecca obliges. “You’re not, I promise you’re not.”
Steven leans over and hugs his friend.
“Have you seen a psychiatrist or someone professional about the dreams?”
“They’re going to say that I’m crazy Beck, you know that. If I tell anyone about this, they’ll have me put away. I don’t’ want to take that risk.”
“But Steve, that’s not normal.”
“Normal? I don’t even know what normal is anymore. Other than when I have these dreams, I can’t sleep, all I hear is a damn ticking clock everywhere I go, and I can’t seem to keep any food down,” Steven says as he winces at his croissant, “I’m sick, Beck.” He runs his hands over his face, clearing it of sweat and newly formed tears. “I just need to know I can still rely on you not to think I’m crazy, even if I think I am.”
“You know I’m not going to think that, but I’m scared for you Steve. Please let me help you somehow. Let me take you to a therapist or something, please.”
Now in tears, Steven reiterates the only answer he has been giving, “I don’t want anyone else knowing about this Beck.”
Frustrated and worried, he slumps back onto the bar-like counter. Flakes of his croissant lay scattered across the plate. Stevens’ eyes stare desperately at the croissant and residual flakes, hoping to find a hidden sign of sorts.
“So let me get this straight,” a now very concerned Rebecca asks, “you can’t sleep, well unless you’re having these dreams, you can’t eat, and you hear a ticking clock all the time?”
“Yes I hear a ticking. I’ve unplugged, thrown away, broken, you name it and I’ve done it to everything that can tell time in the apartment. I hear it at work too. It just won’t stop.”
In a state of desperation, Steven stares at his best friend. The two sit silently, both hoping that either pair of eyes can give even a glimpse at revealing one another’s thoughts.
Rebecca leans in towards Steven, cupping his shaking hands in between hers. “Tell me about these dreams. I want to know what is happening exactly during these dreams,” she says. “I want to help you Steven, so please, tell me.”
A Dreamt Reality
Darkness becomes light. The view is not of my ceiling, but of a stall door. The sound of a ticking clock strikes me. I can hear it as if its sound is concentrated into my ear. I am in a restroom, straddled on this toilet. The stall walls are littered with anonymous phone numbers and poorly drawn characters, etched in various pen. I notice the pair of shorts I had fallen asleep in had been substituted with tattered, brown slacks. A complimented sweat stained shirt and tie make it clear to me that these are not my clothes.
I’m sweating profusely. I can hear a toilet flushing in the stall next to me and a man letting out muffled coughs. All I can think about is how I want him to get out already. I need him to leave. Sounds from the faucet pouring, sting my eardrums. I have an urge to jump out, yelling and screaming profanity, but instead I sit.
Finally, I hear the restroom door close. My heart is racing, yet still I don’t know why. On pure reaction to the door closing, I exit the stall and lock the door. I can easily point out individual grains of dirt covering the tiles on the ground. Stray, used paper towels lay motionless near their missed trashcan. My hands are shaking, yet I have no control over them. I make my way to the cracked mirror hanging by a rusty nail, above the sink. The reflection is unreal. My eyes are looking back at me, but I, myself, am not. My name is not Steven, my name is David Torres.
Clarity instantly becomes an understatement. I am middle aged. My wife divorced me two years ago and I have no kids. I was laid off this morning from my menial job because I missed the bus. My clothes have not been washed in days and I have not eaten it what seems like weeks. My mind is made up, I do not want this anymore. It’s going to happen right here, right now.
I reach down into my pocket. Cold steel meets my shaking hands, and instantly I know what I am touching. I bought this revolver three days ago from a man I did not know. I walked over to the gun shop across the street from my apartment, and all I can think about is how that was a sign; to have a shop located so close to me. I am not the only one that thinks I need to be here. The man in the shop asked me what I was buying it for, I told him it was for protection. Protection from what? Now that I think about it, maybe the false answer I gave him wasn’t so false after all. Maybe I’m protecting this world from my slovenly way of living, and my underachieving, good for nothing self. Or maybe I’m protecting myself from the pain and heartache and sadness that this life has put on a platter for me. Maybe I didn’t lie to that man after all. Then again all I’ve ever been good at is lying. I lied to my parents all the time. I lied to my teachers. I lied to my boss. I lied to my wife. At times I even thought I was pretty good at it, even gave myself props for getting away with things with a well constructed made up story. Yeah I remember those days. So proud of myself I was, but look where that’s gotten me. I have nothing. I am nothing and I will never be anything. I’m just going to do it; I’m tired of being here.
The revolver easily slips out of my pocket. A lot heavier than I last remember it being, its polished shine shimmers underneath the restrooms skylight. As the gun shop man had instructed, I push down on the small lever on the side of the revolver, revealing its cartridge. The bullets, I had so eagerly put into it earlier, seem to stare back at me as I check to see if they are still in place. They are ready and now so am I. The reflection gazes at me, as I do the same unto it. We both understand that this decision must be made.
I notice a clock hanging behind me in the reflection. Its hands make their rounds, as it’s only responsibility counts down my doing. I put the revolver to my head and pull back the hammer. Tears begin to flow. Just a minute ago I was so sure, but now that clarity has begun to fog. Is this really the way it should be? Why has all this only happened to me? I mean I had a good heart, I wasn’t the devil. Why me, why couldn’t I be a different type of person? Why me? Suddenly the ticking stops, the hands have quit their rotation and now I have done the same. I can feel my finger put pressure to the trigger.
Darkness becomes light. My eyes open to my ceiling. In a panic, my stomach churns with unsettled feelings. I rush to my apartment’s restroom and instantly begin to vomit on arrival. It hurts my ribs and throat, but I cannot stop.
Finally the vomiting subsides and I feel a sense of relief. I walk over to the sink and gaze into the reflection in the mirror. My eyes are no longer David Torres’, they are mine once again.
A Lost Mind cannot be Saved, It can only be Rid of
“Steven please see a professional, please see someone about this,” Rebecca urges.
“I won’t. I’m not going to. And if you can’t be there for me when I need you and try to force my issue onto someone else then I don’t need you either.” Steven stands up. His mind made up, he heads towards the door. Rebecca grabs at him, but he pulls away from her. As he reaches the door, he turns back and says, “I’m sorry to bother you with this Beck. I guess I was right, I am going crazy.”
Steven makes his way back to his apartment. Clarity has become an understatement. His mind is made up. The door to his apartment opens to a newfound sense of relief. He walks over to the chest his grandfather had given him before he died. He opens the top revealing a pistol. Steven bought the pistol three days before from his neighbor, a stubborn old man who wouldn’t take any less than $90 for it. The pistol in hand, feels powerful. He walks to his restroom, gun in hand, and mind made up. No more of this god-awful life, he thinks as he loads the pistol with ammunition. Beck doesn’t know what to do with me and neither do I. Maybe I could have left things differently with her, but I needed to come here. I needed to get this done. My life is shit and nothing is ever going to change, so what’s the point. I’m tired of trying.
Finally Steven reaches his reflection, subconsciously hoping that it may reveal a sign of sorts, but instead he notices the only clock he has hung up in his place. The dominate ticking overtakes sound and thought as he rests the muzzle beneath his chin. Why couldn’t I figure things out, he thinks. Why was I not like all the other people that made something of themselves, he thinks. Why me, he thinks. He puts pressure to the trigger.
Darkness becomes light. I am still shaking from my dream. My eyes water as I cannot shake what I have just dreamt. I walk over to my dresser and gaze at the reflection. My eyes are no longer Steven Hudsons’, they are mine once again.