Dark Days

by Naomi Flores

Dark days call for dark words.
I knew it would be cold.
Icy winds blowing across my rosy frozen face as I stand high and tall above the town I’ve loved
for years.
I am at the edge of sanity,
The place I’ve dwelt for nearly a year.
I wish I could say that I didn’t know how I managed to get here
To this point
At the literal precipice of my last day of my life.
But, I do.

I knew it would be cold.
Maybe other suicidal people black out or let their subconscious minds meander their way to
where I am,
At least metaphorically.
I am all alone up here on the top of this tower overlooking Belton dam.
I used to drive every Sunday past this tower, not even seeing it because of the beauty that lay just
beyond it as the sun broke through the sky and painted it with its colors.

A place locked in infinite beauty that I only could see through peripheral glances as I drove
across the two-laned road that bordered the still waters.
No, I know exactly how I got here.

My therapist always asks when I’m suicidal if I “made any plans”.
I know it’s to assess my risk,
and I know I’m not lying,
because I didn’t plan this.

I didn’t plan to buy the bolt cutters that broke open the gates to the very tower on which I now
I didn’t plan on writing letters to the people who love me
and the man who lives in my dreams.
I didn’t plan on slashing open my skin to relieve the pain that already ached inside me.
I never planned any of this.
I chose it.
And sometimes, it seemed to choose me.

I used to be afraid of heights.
I used to be afraid of dying.
This used to be my favorite drive.
Where I once saw beauty, I now see opportunity.
Opportunity that I can’t let go of anymore.

I knew it would be cold.
It’s early.
It took much less time to get up here than I had anticipated.
The sun is still sleeping,
Waiting to wake the sky.
I can’t decide if I want to see just one more sunrise or not see another dawn.
Dealer’s choice, I guess.

Fuck it.
The past year has been hell. I think I’ll give heaven a try.
One step.
That’s all it takes.

The cold air numbs my face.
I wake from my thoughts.
I look down at my hands.
My pen rests gently on my thumb as I sit safely at park table 21.
Words scratched on the journal pages in front of me,
I look to my right and I see the tower.
Cars drive by
And I take another breath.
One step.
One mistake you can’t take back.
Hundred of choices to get there.
Dark days call for dark words,
because dark words are better than dying.

Naomi Flores is a poet and artist based in Belton, Texas. She graduated from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in 2016 with a Christian Studies and Art degree. Her work includes topics pertaining to mental illness.