Disenchanted Edification

by Jason Gerdsmeier

He chose to bleed out. It was by his own means that he made the cut. And now leaning against the bathroom wall he slowly slides down to sit on the tile floor. He can feel the warm blood run down his right fore-arm and drip off the tips of his fingers. He thought he'd be anxious, but his breaths are surprisingly slow as his strength begins to fade. He thinks of all the things that brought him to this moment and why it was he'd made the choice. He wishes for sleep. "Just nod off and it'll all be over" he thinks to himself as he slowly hangs his head and closes his eyes. Time stops as he begins to fade into a place of peace. The world fading away as he drifts into a permanent slumber. Just as he is about to enter a dream state though, his body wakes him abruptly by causing him to take a large breath in. His eyes open wide as he is jolted awake by his failing body. He notices the warmth of the sun on his cheek as it shines through the single window, and turns to face it.

It's as if to him the first time he's seen it, the warmth, the intense light, the golden hue"amazing"beautiful. Astonished he forgets of himself completely as he stares awestruck. After a few moments he remembers his situation and turns his view back into the room. There is an odd peace as he notices the vibrancy of the colors he sees. Everything seems to be the most beautiful shade that it has ever been before. Questioning the purpose of color for a second, he feels at best, what he could call grateful, to have seen it. Looking around baffled and amazed he realizes that it has always been this way. His eyes begin to fill with water as he feels regret, and an unusual feeling of guilt for having missed it all this time. Trying to take a breath he only fills his lungs halfway before noticing how difficult it has become and can't help but reconsider himself. Reaching behind him he pulls a towel from its hanging place and wraps it as best he can around his forearm. Then, stumbling to his feet he wraps his hand around the doorknob; twists it and pushes open the door to the hallway. Two steps forward towards the top off the stairway his head spins the world around him like a tornado and he loses equilibrium. Helplessly he falls forward unaware to even attempt to break his fall. Mercilessly his head slams the third step down and abruptly with a white flash knocks him unconscious.

Standing at the summit he reaches up trying to touch the stars. He feels there so close and wants those watching him at the base to see him do it. His mom, dad, family, friends, and all the blank faces. But, he's only growing shorter until he sees he's still just a little boy and too short to reach that far. He try's harder standing on his toes crying. Determined to do it, he keeps trying and then notices his family hasn't said anything. Why won't they do anything? Don't they care? He looks down seeing there expressionless faces stay the same and like cardboard cutouts they remain still, blank, and non-existent. Realizing that the people at the base aren't real; they dissolve and fade away with the still wind. He has no reason to keep reaching and wonders if he should keep trying. Then looking down he notices the blood pouring from his arms. Petrified he screams staring at his maimed body. Alone and surrounded by blankness he screams mortified as his forearms begin to fall apart right before his eyes. He can do nothing but scream as he watches his arms fall off from the fingers up to his elbows than, from his elbow up to his shoulder. As more and more of his body falls away into nothing he screams louder and louder, than cry's harder and harder until, the nurses start screaming too while they hold him down and call for help.

His tear filled eyes remain blank as a blood curtailing scream steadily echoes from his mouth. Nurses scream for help while they hold him to the bed and try to calm him down, try to connect with him in any way possible. He sits inside himself though, watching himself scream uncontrollably. Watching what his eyes see and listening to what his ears hear. Watching it all happen, unable to seem to feel anything about it. Then he feels a bee sting sensation on his neck and with it a calming presence. His vision spirals away into the distance as he drifts back asleep.

He sleeps through till the next day undisturbed, even by his own dreams. He is woken by a light shaking of his body and a calm, patient tone calling his name. "Nathan? Nathan?" Reluctantly he slowly opens his eyes and lets them adjust to the bright light shining in through the window. A man in a long, thin, white coat leans back and stands up straight. "Morning." He says in a sympathetic tone. Nathan knows the tone; it's the one his parents would use if a family member died when he was a kid. "I'm Dr. Kettleman." Nathan looks at the man waiting for him to do something else. "How are you feeling?" He finally asks. "Like shit." Nathan answers slowly with a course voice. His body had felt literally like it had been electrically shocked and forced into staying functional. "Well you did lose a lot of blood and the medications we've had you on usually have some side effects. You should feel better shortly. Breakfast would probably help, would you like some?"

The doctors words become distant as Nathan notices the cloth wrapped around his forearm and the tubes stuck into his other arm. He looks at himself and where he is, considers how he got there and hates himself. He hates that he has been left with this waste of a man to be the vehicle he has to live his life through and resonates in the emptiness that accompanies those types of thoughts. Nathan knew that empty feeling well and had accepted that it was better than the one where he was full of heaviness and pain. The doctor notices Nathan has started staring off into space with a blank hopeless look in his eye. "Every one of our patients here always seem to say that they're glad to still be alive. What about you?" He says it serious and without so much sympathy as before. So serious that it catches Nathans attention deeply and he tries to answer for some reason, as honestly as possible. He looks inside himself really trying hard to see what he feels about being alive. As he searches his emotions he begins to notice a vibrancy in everything around him. He begins to remember the moment before he got up and fell down the stairs. Then seeing himself again, he smiles slightly as a tear rolls down his cheek for his foolishness to have given so much power to his circumstances.

For the first time in a long time he feels there is an unending possibility of circumstances laid out before him and that all he has to do is play with them. Thoughts of failure are overpowered by a gratefulness to be able to experience what it's like to fail. "Well?" the doctor asks. Nathan turns to look at him and smiles. "I think I'd like to try some breakfast."

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