I have been wronged……dreadfully and obnoxiously wronged! Standing in the balcony of my nineteenth-floor apartment, I repulsively go over every instance I have been wronged through the thirty-four winters I have seen. I was named David by my father and Dave by my mum. But what I want you to do is to, for a moment, think about me as Dave A. And meet Dave B…….my alter ego…... He is privy to all the injustices I have been subjected to, for he has been with me through it all.
Do you feel sorry for me for all these years?.....Don’t. Because I have never felt as wronged as I do today. On my way back today, I stopped over at my shrink’s. And guess what he had to tell me – the same thing he has repeated since I was seventeen – “Dave A, you are absolutely normal. There is nothing wrong with you. You simply over-analyze everything and that puts a lot of pressure on your mind. You’ve got to relax. Hope you are taking your medicines regularly.” But to tell you the truth, I have never believed his balderdash, for if there was nothing wrong with me, people would not have hated me so much.
The view from where I stand is faultless. There is stillness in the night and for as far as my gaze goes below, I can see clearly, objects diminishing away from me. Everything around me is in sharp contrast to what I feel within. My only strength is this determined sense of finality, and clutching it, I fling myself into the empty space outside the balcony, leaving behind an omniscient Dave B to watch my descend. Surprisingly, I feel lighter having executed my thought, feeling the calming effect of the cool air surrounding me.
My father was a wasted man who abused my mother almost every day, in different ways, which, as a child, I would witness from behind the door, under the bed or underneath my blanket. These episodes filled my tender heart with fear and anger at my helplessness to protect my mother who always cared for me no matter what she underwent. Yet, I did not feel wronged, as much as I did today. One such morning, that followed an abusive night, my mother was unable to pack lunch for me to carry to school. That day, my teacher punished me for stealing some food from someone’s lunch box. I could never get why stealing was worse than staying hungry. Still, I did not feel wronged.
As my descend continues, I am beginning to feel a strange sensation in my stomach – something like a floaty feeling we get in a roller coaster. On my way down I witness another Dave A in-the-making on one of the floors, a man abusing a woman, who could be his wife (or perhaps not). And then I remember Sara. We were together in high school and she always cared for me. She brought me all the nice things her mother made for her to eat and I always looked forward to it. I always knew her schedule after our classes got over and would wait outside the library for her to finish her research or watch her playing with others in the field. She made it a point to spend at least thirty minutes with me after she finished, every day, just talking about her day and I would feel important. I was convinced there was no one else who would give her so much attention or make her so happy, as I did. Till one day she spent those thirty minutes talking all about Alex and how he made her feel like a woman…..the most important person of his life. C…r…a…c…k…..that was the first time I heard the sound of a breaking heart. It wasn’t enough to make me feel wronged.
I fall past an apartment where I see this elegant lady I would often meet in the elevator. I had always meant to initiate a conversation but somehow never went past exchanging insignificant pleasantries. Seeing her in her white night gown makes my heart flutter for a bit. The only time since I commenced this downward journey ambivalence grips me and for a moment I feel if I could reverse the decision. I am now closer to my destination and deciding if I should land with my eyes open, or closed. I realise the flutter I feel in my heart is for real and I am getting a sinking feeling. Gasping for breath, my journey continues. All I ever wished for was a little more acceptance for who I am, by the world in which everyone is always seeking to volunteer time, effort and money for a “worthy cause”. Needless to say, they will not want to spend any on an “unworthy” person like me.
When I was almost seventeen, my wasted father, who was still alive, unleashed his fury on me. He shouldn’t have. That’s when I decided to give him a piece of my mind. I loaded him in the car in an inebriated state and drove him for an hour before tossing him over a cliff into the gorge below. I did not feel I had done any wrong. That moment I felt even-steven after all the blows life dealt at me. That’s when I started seeing my shrink on my mother’s prod. But the incidents that made me feel smaller than who I was, continued.
T….H….U…D…..I kiss my destination, leaving Dave B behind to tell you the rest of my story.
I am looking through the binoculars Dave A left on his bedside. I can see him lying in a kind of serene state, with his eyes closed. Slowly a red effusion forms a pool around his head. I notice a sheet of white paper flying from the room into the balcony and out into the air. Perhaps he had left a note for someone under the binoculars. As his alter ego I reaffirm, Dave has never been wronged ever as much as he was, today.