Once upon a time, there was a man on a ledge. Well, not a ledge. A balcony. Every day at dusk, like clockwork, the man stood on the balcony, staring out into the blue hazy expanse. Sometimes, he looked down, considering the 20-story drop. Sometimes, he considered jumping. The man had everything he’d ever wanted. His apartment was beautiful. His job was prestigious. His car was automated. And, yet, he considered the 20-story drop from his apartment balcony.
Once upon a time, there was young girl who would watch the man on the balcony, like clockwork. She would watch him standing there as he considered the urban twinkle of lights. She had frizzy hair and no freckles. She never understood why. All the people she knew had freckles and wore their hair in long ponytails. The girl’s mother had given up on combing through the girl’s hair years ago. Now, it sticks up in all directions, with a bow neatly placed by her ear as if to say, “Truly, we tried.” Once, the girl gathered the courage to ask her parents why she had frizzy hair and no freckles and they didn’t. Her mothers just glanced at each other, considering.
Once upon a time, on a particularly blue day, the man stood on his balcony, considering. The girl watched him. She noticed that his hair had gotten wilder and his dark eyes seemed more… Determined? Anxious? Afraid? The man looked across the horizon. It looked like the ocean, shades of Prussian blue, cerulean and hints of ochre swirling in and out of each other like a Van Gogh painting. His achievements would never change how people felt about him, the man finalized. Cursed with no freckles, frizzy hair and chestnut skin, he was hopeless. He considered. The girl watched attentively. The moon was full and its white light competed with the industrial glow of the city. The man tried to convince himself that the drop would be like jumping into the ocean. Quick. Easy. Painless. He considered. The girl began to worry. She thought of the man as a friend, her only friend with frizzy hair, no freckles and dark skin, like her. But the man was finished with considering. He took a deep breath and scanned his surroundings. This would be the last time he’d look at the horizon this would be the— He noticed a girl with frizzy hair and no freckles standing on a balcony next to his peering back at him.
Once upon a time, there was a man about to jump off a balcony. But he couldn’t. Not that night. Because a girl with frizzy hair and no freckles on a balcony next to his reminded him too much of himself. Instead, the man and the girl stood on their balconies, looking off into the Van Gogh sky. The girl was too nervous to speak. The man didn’t know what to say. So, there they stood, calm in each other’s presence. Calm. Of course, it wouldn’t last. The girl would go back inside to loving parents, who would never understand why the girl wanted freckles. The man would go back to his apartment, knowing that his skin would always hold him back. But in that moment, they were both calm. A unique unspoken solidarity was shared. So, there they stood. Considering.