My Thoughts Are Not My Own
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The night sky weighed its heavy disdain atop my shrugged shoulders as I walked. The sight of countless stars helped to alleviate my growing pain. Their brilliant glare had always filled me with hope. A sense of calamity among a sea of chaos. But even still, my despair lingered.

I had just escaped from my temporary prison. My jail cell had been painted in hues of grey and blue as the wardens draped in white coats patrolled outside. They intended to trap me with their expressions of mock concern and empathy, while their accomplices pretended to understand my grieving. I could no longer take it. Without a moment of hesitation, I barged through their fortifications in search of seclusion. They were unable to stop me.

I continued walking aimlessly.

I must apologize, first and foremost. I was not prone to these dark and twisted thoughts. Such notions were foreign to me. They were alien. Before my path began, my family had often considered me sanguine. They thought I emanated an infectious optimism. Every winter, they would remind me of how much they loved my company. Such kind words they would say. Imagine the shame I would feel if they could see me now, distraught and alone.

Just please understand. These thoughts are not my own.

My feet carried me beyond my home and past an aging willow tree as I continued my stroll. Its dangling branches that so carelessly drifted with the breeze had attracted my gaze. I momentarily stopped in place, my erratic breath pumping fog back into my eyes. I took a moment to admire the sleeping giant. How pitiful that poor tree must feel, I pondered. Was it fair that this magnificent creature could not escape the torments of winter each year? That it had no friends or family to laugh and smile with as it suffered?

Such ideas reminded me of my childhood. My earlier years, being raised within a beautiful and majestic kingdom. One would imagine that being born within a place — full of fairies, elves, dwarves, and the like — would have been wonderful. That agony could simply never exist within the walls of a castle and its village. How riddled with ignorance these sentiments are. Most of my life within such a kingdom was nothing but pain. Anguish and suffering because I was not like the other children. Adopted and abnormal, they hated my humanity. Those who never spoke or laughed with me, they were the first to plant the seeds of doubt and distress within my mind.

But I digress. Such thoughts are not my own.

I hadn't realized that I was moving again. To where I could not say. It felt like an eternity had passed before my eyes turned to see a grocery store. The store-front windows displayed a vacant shop, illuminated by a series of warm fluorescent lights. Inside, I could see a single cashier waiting patiently at her register. She looked indifferent, her long brown hair hiding most of her appearance from my view.

As I saw her, I began to reminisce about my past job. To others, such a career would have sounded successful. It would have been impressive. I had been responsible for thousands of people within a prominent company. This authority gave me prestige, and it made me important. For once in my life, I had been wanted. And after spending so much time alone I had finally felt noticed. Not by those who cared about who I was, but instead for what I had.

But we can only revel in self-indulgence for so long. As soon as the euphoria of being special arose within my mind, so too did my anger. Soon I felt degraded. I had been deceived by those who claimed that I was needed. They willingly lied through their wicked grins. They didn't actually care for who I was, or what made me unique. They only wanted my results. It was because of this that I began to realize what I feared the most.

That my thoughts are not my own.

I found myself deserted on a bridge. How I got there was a mystery to me. For a moment I considered traveling somewhere else; maybe where it felt more pleasant and calm. But then I remembered how I got to this place. And all the memories that I reflected upon as I walked.

No… this had to be it. This was where I would face my demise.

The bridge was tall. It was high enough to fit my needs. I glanced around, unsurprised that no one else was nearby. Such a place carried feelings of hesitation, and those who decided to wander onto this bridge were aware of what would happen here. It was peaceful.

I walked to where the railing was. Looking down below, the road that traveled under the bridge was barren. It was often busier during the day when cargo and freight needed to be delivered to the shops and businesses in town. But tonight it was dark and quiet, with no one to bother me. It was perfect.

Without thinking, I grabbed the railing. Every part of me screamed that I needed to jump. For a moment I could feel my body throw itself to the edge. My hands were shaking. Whether it be from fear or resentment, I wasn't sure. In that singular moment, I began to remember what led me to this. The memories began returning to me, all in an instant. How lonely I felt growing up. How much I hated those who treated me wrong. I began to think about every coworker who had lied to me. Those who only sought to manipulate and abuse me. I even remembered the reason why I came here. Why I escaped my prison and everything that I had lost because of my stupid actions. Just jump off the bridge! I yelled at myself, with tears welling in my eyes.

I stopped, standing desolate atop of that bridge, struggling for what felt like a century. The war raged on, an internal conflict between release and acceptance. What was the correct choice? What should I do? Is there a right answer? I desperately needed someone's help. Anyone's help. Who was I supposed to ask now?

As soon as the questions swelled within my head, I began to realize something. After all of this time, I hadn't truly recognized the evil within my mind. I never took a moment to understand why I was acting the way I was, or how I was lashing out. I never allowed myself to stop and think. Was any of this rational? I had been led here through anger and contempt. By frustration and misery. Was this really how things were meant to end? These questions created nothing but more questions that caused my resolve to weaken. I had been stirred by my fear, which forced me to contemplate why I came to this bridge. Why I ultimately decided how that day would be my end.

I stepped away from the bridge railing. My body still screamed at me, but now out of fear and confusion. I still have no idea if what I did was right. Should I have jumped? What else could I have done? Such questions may always pester me. But that night I decided to walk away. I still don't know if what I did was correct. After all, did I really believe that my pain would ever fade? It may take a while until I truly know. But as I walked away from that bridge, I did learn one thing…

His thoughts were not my own.

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