Running In Plain Sight & Other Stories: A Balanced Imbalance – (FREE Chapter 3 Excerpt)

After a month and a half of intensive treatment and therapy, I was discharged and taken back home. Fortunately, it was Summer and the ruse of a vacation covered for me. I normally don’t schedule that much this time of the year anyway. Physically, I have no energy or appetite and sleep is very scarce. Down twenty-five pounds and rapidly weakening, I can barely muster enough energy to pull the covers away, get out of bed, and use the bathroom. My appearance is horrific–I haven’t had a haircut or shave in weeks. Barely showering, brushing my teeth, or even combing my hair. I’m taking my meds as prescribed, though I continue to free fall, moment by moment.

Stephanie and Gail have been wonderful to me as usual. They take care of me and protect me. Besides them, Dr. Lucas, and his staff, no one else knows my condition; which in and of itself has probably worsened my condition. It heightens the stress of being who I truly am and wearing the “my life is together” mask in public. In bed, surveying my bedroom, I look at my chair and wonder how much energy it’d take to grab a belt and hang from my pull up bar. There’s a huge gulf between wishing death to take me and actually doing it myself. I was readying myself to get out of bed when the phone rang. The caller ID let me know Dr. Lucas was calling again, probably to check on me.

“Hi Zach, how are you feeling today?”

“Hi Doc, nothing’s changed much. Feels like the hole is growing deeper and darker.”

“Please try to eat, and get a little rest, ok?”

“Ok, I doubt it’ll make me feel any better.”

“Look, can you do me a favor, please?”

“Sure, what is it?”

“I need you to do a couple of things for me, ok ?”

“I’m listening.”

“I want you to shave, shower, eat, get a haircut, put on some clean clothes and come see me in the morning, ok?”

“Ok Doc, what time?”

“See you at ten A.M.?”

“That’s way too early, it’s gonna take some time for me to do that. How about two o’clock?”

“Perfect. I want you to come in with an open mind, I have some things I’d like to discuss.”

“Ok, I’ll be there, goodbye.”

I arrived at Dr. Lucas’ office about ten minutes shy of two P.M. A couple of minutes later, he entered the waiting area and escorted me to his office.

Now seated, he asked, “So Zach, how’s it going? How are you coping?”

“I’m not, Doc. I feel like I’m sinking further down into a bottomless pit. I have no energy, I barely eat and sleep and my quality of life sucks. Why’d you want to see me today?”

“I’d like a commitment and a favor from you.”

“Ok, what is it?”

“First, I need you to really dig in and give me and the treatment a chance. I know it doesn’t feel like it now, but your life has both purpose and meaning. I just want you to try as hard as you possibly can. Do you think you can do that?”

“I’m willing to commit and do everything I possibly can to escape this darkness. What’s the favor you need from me?”

“Well, first off I believe part of your struggle has been your lack of commitment, but the other part is the undue stress and energy it takes to conceal your condition. I told you at the beginning that it doesn’t have to be a death sentence nor will it stop you from thriving and living a productive life because you’ve done it before. I want to take you to a treatment facility to spend some time with some adolescents. They look up to you and I believe this can be a great thing for them and you. But I don’t want you to answer me now, go home and think about what I’ve said, ok?”

“Will do, I’ll call you in a couple of days. I promise to commit and try to do what you’ve asked of me.”

“Ok, that’s all I ask. Enjoy the rest of your day.”

“You do the same.”

Published by Author - Charles R. Butts Jr.

Entertaining and provoking thought within his readers are the main hopes former U.S. Army soldier & thirty-three year U.S. Postal Service employee Charles R. Butts Jr. has when it comes to the creation and release of his work. When he’s not reading or writing, Charles enjoys spending time with Shawanda, his wife of twenty-five years, his children Amber and Trey, and his grandchildren. He recognizes Langston Hughes, Walter Mosley, and James Baldwin as highly notable influences in the literary world.

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